VIDEO: Circus leaves trail of mud in its wake

Residents have complained to Lancaster City Council about the state of a city park caused by a circus arriving in town.

Circus Vegas parked up at Ryelands Park last week, with shows due to continue until Sunday, but Steven Smith of Torrisholme Road said the vehicles had left the park in a treacherous condition.

Mess: Mud left behind in Ryelands Park, Lancaster

Mess: Mud left behind in Ryelands Park, Lancaster

He said: “The circus took two days to arrive and the condition of the park got worse and worse.

“You cannot access any of the footpaths or the road from Ryelands House to the cottage.

“I have slipped and fallen over in the mud and even the cyclists have had to use the grass. I don’t think the venue is right for this sort of thing.

“I have seen lorries sunk several inches into the ground. We have people trying to make the park more beautiful and they have run all over it.

The damage caused by the circus in Ryelands Park.

The damage caused by the circus in Ryelands Park.

“There’s a dedicated place on Morecambe promenade with a concreted area that has ample parking - why can it not be used instead?

“It’s an absolute shambles and very badly thought out.

“The site was a mess before the circus was even open to the public.

“It’s just not a suitable venue. The damage will probably take months to correct.

“It was such a shock to see it loooking such a state.”

Lancaster City Council said the recent poor weather had made the situation worse for the circus.

Mark Davies, chief officer (environment) at Lancaster City Council, said: “All events, on any open space, are fully assessed in advance for their impact on the open space and safety.

“Unfortunately, on this occasion, the recent bad weather has impacted on the event, with the large circus vehicles manoeuvring within the park causing some short term damage to the grassed areas.

“Council officers have been in regular contact with the circus management and have visited Ryelands Park regularly over the last few days to assess and resolve the situation.

“On late Tuesday afternoon all the vehicles had been safely moved and the cycle path through the park re-opened.

“Any areas which have been damaged will be reinstated to their original condition, paid for from the bond we require from anyone hiring council land for an event such as this.”

The Friends of Ryelands Park group also spoke to the circus operators to discuss an alternative route for pedestrian access, which was expected to have been put in place by the time the Guardian went to press.