Donkey row was ‘overkill’ - says Sheffield MP

Donkeys which had to be withdrawn from Beighton Gala in a row over licensing.
Donkeys which had to be withdrawn from Beighton Gala in a row over licensing.
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Sheffield politicians have united over the unlikely subject of donkey rides - after they were removed from a Sheffield fete in a bizarre licensing row.

Youngsters were left disappointed after the attraction was pulled from the popular Beighton Gala at the weekend, because council officers told organisers two days before that a ‘riding school licence’ was needed on top of other paperwork.

Sheffield MP Clive Betts.

Sheffield MP Clive Betts.

South East Sheffield and Labour MP Clive Betts, who attended the gala, said it was ‘overkill’ and has written to the council about it.

He added: “I think the council officers should have been finding a way to get the donkeys there, not stopping them.

“It feels like somebody has found a rule that’s not existed before and used it in a way that most people would find difficult to justify.

“If there was a concern it should have been raised early, not at the last minute.

“It seems like complete overkill.”

It isn’t the first time the council has been criticised over licensing.

Last year it controversially approved a ban on ice cream vans that were more than five years old, to reduce emissions and improve vehicles.

In April businessman Harold Mortimer successfully challenged a rule banning mobile street traders from selling milk or bread.

Coun Ian Auckland, Sheffield Liberal Democrat licensing spokesman, said: “It’s disappointing to see yet again council bureaucrats allowing red tape to get in the way of simple pleasures.

“Given that this follows hot on the heels of the bizarre attempt to ban ice-cream vans, you begin to wonder who the real donkeys are.”