Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Winter Wonderland in Detling WILL go ahead on Saturday - despite traffic chaos on Friday night


More news, no ads

LEARN MORE

A festive event will go ahead as planned this evening - despite last night turning away dozens of families caught in four-hour queues.

Visitors to the Winter Wonderland at Detling Showground, Maidstone, yesterday were stuck in gridlocked traffic along the A249 as they attempted to get onto the site.

People were stuck in traffic for hours as they tried to reach the event
People were stuck in traffic for hours as they tried to reach the event

Many are demanding refunds following the frustrating experience on the dual carriageway, as several people were unable to get in before it closed.

But organiser Phoenix Fireworks has confirmed that it will press ahead and hold the second night of the event today, as it insists it has "learned a lot".

A message on its Facebook page reads: "We are acutely aware of the disappointment that so many guests experienced last night.

"Since then we have been working hard on a strategy to overcome the obstacles that were faced.

"The problem we experienced last night was trying to move too many cars through the narrow lanes on the showground. It is fair to say we learned a lot last night."

Infuriated drivers stuck along Detling Hill tonight. Picture: UK News in Pictures
Infuriated drivers stuck along Detling Hill tonight. Picture: UK News in Pictures

The company has re-jigged the site - moving its performances, Santa and Reindeer into its main car park - in a bid to prevent further congestion.

The message continues: "We can only tell you how desperately sorry we are.

"This was meant to be a moment of cheer that we so wanted to offer.

"As people arrive tonight you will be directed to the parking spot in the main concert auditorium.

"This will reduce the very long queues we had last night, allowing everyone to have the best chance of seeing the main Winter Wonderland Concert performances."

The queues on the approach to the Winter Wonderland were held along the main road for hours
The queues on the approach to the Winter Wonderland were held along the main road for hours

The event is also scheduled to take place tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday.

It had been billed as a Covid-safe "whimsical Christmas tour" with guests driving along a winter-themed trail.

Children could wave at Santa from their cars, post their letters to the North Pole and watch a fireworks display from a designated parking space.

They were also promised a food village and other "enchanting surprises".

Instead, furious visitors spent their evenings in tailbacks that stretched along the A249 to Eclipse Park, near junction 7 of the M20.

Angry Kay Shoebridge added: "Phoenix Fireworks, you need to issue refunds for those of us who couldn't even get close."

Meanwhile, Melissa Whitehead, who has tickets for the event on Monday, added: "What assurances can you give that the opening night failures can be put right?

"I hope you will be offering apologies and refunds to those unable to access the event.

"People hoping to give their children a bit of festive fun and get into the Christmas spirit during an already difficult and stressful time have had a nightmare of an evening."

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More