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Mr Bailey has faced many diversities at the Mayfair venue over the past 10 years, including anti-war rallies in the capital, but this year he feels to go ahead is just not viable.

He told ATG: “Despite an early line-up of specialists who wished to exhibit, other factors have prevented me going ahead in 2005. Negotiations over rent increases, the early Easter date this year, five interest rate rises in 2004, an even weaker US dollar rate than last April and reports from top London trade regarding other events proving difficult – why fight this one?”
However, Mr Bailey insists he is looking forward to 2006 at Claridge’s when the dates fall in the middle of April.

Last year, for the first time the Bailey Claridge’s fair was used as LAPADA’s London flagship event, although the association subsequently decided not to repeat the exercise, instead concentrating on their own new event in the autumn at Cheltenham.

But those who know the characteristic resilience of the organiser are convinced the LAPADA withdrawal is not a crucial factor in his cancellation of the 2005 fixture.

Indeed, Robert Bailey has already made other plans. He says: “As my provincial circuit remains buoyant, I am upgrading my June 4-6 Petworth fair as a means of attracting the London and Home Counties visitors who usually attend Claridge’s.”

He added: “I also have collectors local to me who spend around £100,000 at Claridge’s and they will be provided with a chauffered service from Essex to Sussex for a special pre-Olympia day out.”

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