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Birmingham show to move next year

THE CITY of Birmingham C A championship show has held its last show at Perry Park and, subject to Kennel Club approval in the new year, will move in 2003 to the National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh, near Kenilworth, Warwickshire.

The move comes amid fears of the committee and its officers being unable to guarantee the safety of the site and exhibitors after several incidents over recent years. The show dates, August 29th., 30th. and 31st., and group split will remain the same.

Three years ago several dogs were stolen from their benches, sparking off a security scare at the venue which prompted additional measures and the relaxation of the ‘dogs on benches’ rule at the show. Exhibitors were actively encouraged to bring their dogs to the main ringside.

But the problems didn’t end there. This year workmen were peppered with air rifle pellets as the tenting contractors erected the main marquee on the Perry Park site. Only after police were called to supervise were they able to proceed. The shots were fired from the nearby flats and housing estate.

To make matters worse security staff were beaten up after tackling night-time intruders on the show site last September.

The Perry Park site has hosted the ‘City’ show for some years and was once part of the huge town show which also featured an agricultural section, show jumping and a fun fair. In the early nineties a huge block of land on the park was given over to the Alexandra Stadium which now hosts international field and track events. Two years ago the ‘City’ show lost its usual caravan park to further development.

As the city council sought to further develop the park area it was possible that the show would lose its car park in 2005 to ground development and it was this and the other problems that made the show executive consider other options and its duty of care to exhibitors, traders and the public.

The NAC at Stoneleigh show site is very different to the one that older exhibitors will remember as the venue for the Birmingham National shows up to 1988. Gone are the cattle sheds and the Tate & Lyle Building that used to hosts the benching and indoor rings. Two huge single-span buildings offer indoor accommodation and additional car parking on hard standing helping to locate cars near to the halls.

A full statement from the association is expected early in the new year.