HAWORTH 1940s Weekend has grown to the point where it is “out of the control” of its own organisers, a meeting heard.

Members of Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, who reviewed the 2018 weekend at their latest meeting, were told of drunken, rowdy behaviour, entertainments with no links to the 1940s and battle re-enactment explosions which terrified local people’s pets.

But councillors also noted that much of the public feedback they received about the weekend had still been positive, with people telling them they had enjoyed the occasion.

Cllr Sarah Garner said: “Although we are being critical, we should remember that it was the first time this particular committee had run the weekend.”

Cllr Gary Swallow said he had received many emails from people unhappy with different aspects.

“These included the loud explosions from the re-enactment disturbing pets and livestock,” he added. “This was excessive, and I can imagine dogs and cats being terrified.

“There was fighting in one of the pubs on the Friday night – I won’t mention which one – and on Saturday night there was such a big commotion at the top end of the village that two police cars and a Black Maria attended to break up the disturbance.

“Another comment I got from people was that events in the park just seemed to be fairground type entertainments, which didn’t seem to have much connection with the 1940s.”

Cllr Alan Woodward said: “It has become a monster that has got out of the control of the 1940s Weekend committee. While it is a great weekend it does need better planning.”

Cllr Peter Clarke said: “The weekend has been deteriorating year on year. Drunken behaviour has become more noticeable, and I think the event has reached the end of its natural life.”

District councillor Russell Brown said: “The organising committee were staging the weekend for their first time, and they were quite ambitious. While I know the police say they were busier than they’d expected to be, the feedback I had from people that attended was very good.”

Cllr Andrew Longden said that while the weekend’s committee would need to take a closer look at the issue of sales of alcohol over the weekend, he thought it had still been a very good event.

Cllr David Mahon praised the work put in by the organisers to repeatedly clear away accumulating litter from Haworth Central Park.

Since the meeting, one of the main organisers, Andrea Leathley, has spoken out about the pressures on her and her colleagues.

She said she was verbally and physically assaulted while trying to enforce a road closure during the weekend, and added that key factors which caused some of the complaints had been out of the control of the organising committee.

She said: “We’re all volunteers and we work hard to stage the weekend. I gave up eight months of the year to organise it, and I don’t get paid. I don’t want paying because I do enjoy it, but I do get a bit disheartened to receive these criticisms.”

Responding to complaints about loud explosions, she said: “We did send letters out to residents close to where the re-enactment was going to take place, and included warnings about pets. We spoke to people in neighbouring properties and telephoned a farmer who had young cattle in a field behind the re-enactment site. We did everything we could to make people aware in advance.

She accepted that the weekend has for years been seen by some people as an opportunity to drink heavily. She said this was why the organising committee decided not to have the usual beer tent in Haworth Central Park, which was replaced by a 1930s-style fair to create a more family-friendly atmosphere.

Mrs Leathley said a bar in the parsonage car park was properly controlled, while no drink-related problems affected the event’s scheduled evening dances, adding “Our own weekend event ran from 8.30am to 6pm on both days and there were no arrests or trouble between those times.

"I had recommended to Bradford Council that every pub in the village have bouncers on the doors for that weekend, but I did not have the authority myself to tell the pubs to do this.

"I don't know where the trouble was, but it looks like it happened in the evenings, after our own event was finished."

She acknowledged the 1930s fairground did have some modern rides, which some people may have felt did not blend in with the weekend's vintage theme.

She said the sheer size of the annual event, which is spread over different locations across Haworth, meant it was now time for Bradford Council to use its authority and play a more active role in supporting it.

Mrs Leathley said the assault against her at the weekend occurred on the Sunday morning and was now a police matter.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed its officers were investigating an assault during the weekend, which was reported to have happened at 10.30am on May 20.

A Bradford Council spokesman said: “The Haworth 1940s Weekend is a great event and volunteers put a lot of hard work into making it so.

"As with every outdoor event happening in the Bradford district the council makes stipulations of event organisers and there is a clear process to follow.

"Council officers will be taking part in a debrief of this year’s event later this month, and will be happy to support the volunteers in their event planning in future years.”