Hoppings Traffic Management

Road sign: The Hoppings Fair. No parking on verges. No parking in estates.

A few weeks back the Hoppings arrived to take over the Town Moor, not just the biggest funfair in Newcastle but one of the biggest in Europe regularly attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors. For those of us in Gosforth, there’s an added bonus that it is practically on our doorstep.

In this blog we look at transport-related issues raised by this year’s event and hope that everyone involved in its organisation, including The Freemen, Newcastle City Council and Northumbria Police, will learn and improve so that next year’s Hoppings can be safe and accessible for all visitors.

“No parking on verges”

Despite the many signs, many vehicles were parked on the footpath and grass next to The Great North Road, in some cases right next to the signs saying no ‘parking on verges’.

Vehicles parked on the pavement in front of a 'no parking on verges' sign

In some places the pavement, which is a shared footpath / cycleway, was almost completely blocked by parked vehicles.

Vehicles blocking the pavement.

To quote from the Council’s website: “Parking on pavements can also cause serious problems for people who have walking difficulties, people who are blind or visually impaired, wheelchair users and people pushing prams and buggies

Also, for event organisers, “The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 gives disabled people equal rights to attend, participate in and enjoy organised events. Event organisers could face legal challenges from disabled people unable to access an organised event.

Similar problems occurred on Grandstand Road, with drivers just ignoring the cones laid out to say no parking. In the distance you can see a cone that has been moved from the road onto the grass.

Vehicle parked on the pavement in front of a 'no parking' traffic cone

In our research for our response to the Police and Crime Commissioned consultation we found that “the risk of detection [by Police] as perceived by road users is generally held to be the most important factor in achieving successful deterrence” 

Northumbria Police were present at the Hoppings but completely ignored the obstructed pavements, despite having patrols walking along The Great North Road right past where vehicles were parked.

Police car parked on the verge

Parking on the Town Moor

The Hoppings did provide a car park for visitors arriving by car, with plenty of space, but this didn’t come without issues.

Hoppings Car Park

Vehicles exiting the Hoppings are directed to leave via the gate at the far side of the Town Moor onto the Central Motorway. This means, frequently fast-moving, vehicles on the Town Moor tracks that are normally traffic-free. 

Car being driven on Town Moor gravel tracks with dust in the air

Photo from 2022

Further along, drivers are directed to use the tarmac tracks by Exhibition Park, which are also the (usually traffic-free) route from Gosforth to the park via the Town Moor used by families and dog-walkers.

It is clear from the photo below that some drivers completely ignored the signs and drove straight across the Town Moor.

Picture of Town Moor tracks, with vehicle tracks and gravel indicating vehicles had driven straight across the grass.

There also an incident where a man’s leg was broken by a van driver. According to the Chronicle Article “A white Vauxhall van which was being driven by a showman crashed into him and ran over his left leg and arm” while the victim was “was sat on grass enjoying the atmosphere and entertainment.”

The victim said “[The driver] went over my left leg and left arm, stopped and reversed back over me.”

Despite this, and without explanation, Northumbria Police released a statement saying officers were “satisfied it was an accident and no criminal offences had been committed.” 

Event Management

The City Council issued a statement prior to the Hoppings saying they, Northumbria Police and NE1 were putting on extra staff to deter anti-social behaviour, but this appears – other than a few ineffective signs – to have completely overlooked anti-social behaviour related to event parking.  We hope the Safe Newcastle partners will learn from this. 


We also hope that in future years there is a much greater emphasis on enabling people to attend the Hoppings without needing a car, consistent with the City Council’s plans to make “healthy active choices such as cycling and walking a first choice for everyone.”  

Many people did use the bus or Metro but, from what we saw, there was little promotion of either option. Nor was there any obvious engagement with Neuron eScooters. 

Likewise, we don’t believe there was any cycle parking nor any alternative route for anyone wanting to cycle east to west across the Town Moor.

Notes & Links

The Town Moor is required by legislation to be maintained as an “open space in the interests of the inhabitants of the city… to afford air and exercise for the enjoyment of the public”. It may also be used for exhibitions or entertainment like the Hoppings. 

Safe Newcastle “is a partnership working together to help make Newcastle a safe city to live and work.” Safe Newcastle covers a range of issues including hate crime and domestic abuse, but does not include traffic crime in its list of priorities despite there being over 3,000 injuries from road traffic collisions in Newcastle since 2018, including 26 deaths.

According to the Newcastle City Council website, all major events in Newcastle should have an Event Plan, which should include the management of transport and parking and how to keep people safe.

Newcastle City Council website links:

One thought on “Hoppings Traffic Management

  1. Stephen Brown

    We need stricter police enforcement when the hopping are on,in regards to parking.

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