Spring Fair parks carpark charge amid exhibitor protests

Trade show Spring Fair (1-5 February at Birmingham NEC) has "postponed" an £8-a-day car parking charge after complaints from exhibitors and visitors.

Organiser Emap and host, the NEC, "are sensitive to the fact that more notice is required before this charge is implemented", said a Spring Fair representative.

Spring Fair earlier said the NEC had introduced the charge, when in fact it was a joint Emap/NEC decision. Emap had also said the charge was a "negotiated rate when in fact it is a standard NEC rate for all shows where charges are made".  

Exhibitor STV Pest Control MD Edwin Allingham had complained:

"It's most unwelcome. Exhibitor costs have increased across the board this year and now TPS has imposed a last-minute surcharge on visitors as well.  Show attendance has been in decline for several years and this will only serve to further discourage retailers from visiting the fair."

Industry figures said they hoped the charge would not be applied to garden retail show Glee this September. A Spring Fair representative said there would be no car park charges for Glee.

Spring Fair attracted 70,000 visitors in 2008. Twenty halls of exhibitors show gift, home, kitchen, greetings, toy, festive, outdoor living, art, jewellery and fashion products to retailers.

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