By Tim Edgley and Tom Orde

CIVIC chiefs have cancelled funfairs and all other public events due to be held on city council land due to the latest coronavirus rule changes.

Events were planned for Riverside Park, Veracity Ground, Mansel Park and Southampton Common – but these will now not go ahead.

All other events due to take place on authority property between now and the end of October have also been cancelled.

It comes after a “thorough review” of new regulations published by the Government which set in place the “rule of six”, which prohibits members of the public from gathering in numbers.

But an opposition councillor has slammed the decision, even claiming he found out when contacted by the Echo.

Millbrook member Cllr Steven Galton said: “I’m being left completely in the dark by the council around these decision makings. This is the first I am hearing of this and I am really disappointed that I am not being briefed as a councillor.

“If it’s around the fact that there can’t be meetings of more than six people in public places, then how does that affect things like going to the shop? They need to be clearer about what is or isn’t allowed.”

However, the council says its senior management team and director of public health felt that risks would be too high.

“Despite the best efforts of the organisers of these fairs who have worked hard to provide a Covid-secure environment, the council cannot with good conscience allow events involving large numbers of people to take place on our land,” said Mary D’Arcy, the authority’s executive director for communities, culture and homes.

“These could lead to unnecessary mingling of people and potentially lead to groups of more than six coming into contact with each other, breaking the Government’s ‘rule of six’.

“It is extremely regrettable therefore that we will be cancelling these funfairs.

“Our priority has to be keeping local infection levels of Covid-19 to a minimum, thereby protecting our residents, and doing all we can to avoid a damaging local lockdown.

“With large numbers of children and young people expected to attend the fairs, we are especially keen to minimise the chances of transmission among this demographic, particularly in school-age children.

“We will do all we can to minimise the chances of outbreaks in our schools, which could lead to closures and even more disruption to pupils and parents.”

Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, added: “It is a difficult position both for government and local government as to how to keep the local area safe and the balance of the life and vitality of that area.”