Ashfield Council wished 'good luck' over plan for Christmas market by Lincoln counterpart

The leader of Lincoln Council has wished other authorities looking to steal the city’s Christmas Market – including Ashfield – “good luck,” but warned “there are no easy wins here”.
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Lincoln Council leaders decided to cancel the 40-year-old traditional market earlier this year and will re-allocate the £260,000 it sets aside annually to cushion any budget deficits into a wider range of events throughout the year.

However, since the announcement, authorities including those in the South East Lincolnshire Council’s partnership of Boston, East Lindsey and South Holland, as well as further afield such as Ashfield, have confirmed they are looking to attract stallholders to their own events.

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Coun Nigel Welton, Boston Council economic portfolio holder, recently confirmed his desire for Boston to “become the hub town in Lincolnshire for Christmas celebrations”.

Ashfield Council wants to expand its Christmas offering.Ashfield Council wants to expand its Christmas offering.
Ashfield Council wants to expand its Christmas offering.

However, following a meeting which examined Lincoln’s reasons behind the decision in depth, Coun Ric Metcalfe, Lincoln Council leader, said: “good luck to all in any of those areas”.

He said: “They will, I’m sure, if they don’t know it already, realise mounting a Christmas Market on anything like the scale we developed ours over 40 years isn’t something you can organise easily or overnight.

“They’ll quickly realise there are no easy wins here. It requires a lot of work, planning and money and a certain amount of risk-taking, which public authorities have to be willing to make in terms of public safety and financially. Good luck to them.”

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He did, however, suggest there might not be enough time to organise something of a similar scale, with Lincoln’s own officers having previously begun the organising the next event as soon as the last one finished.

Coun Tom Dyer, who called in the decision to be discussed, said Lincoln Council had “shot themselves in the foot”.

He said: “I can’t blame areas like Ashfield putting forward alternative options, but it’s Lincoln’s loss.”

Announcing Ashfield Council would write to affected traders to invite them to the district, Coun Jason Zadrozny, council leader, said: “This market bought more than 250,000 people to Lincoln over four days. It has been a huge success for the city and for economic regeneration.

“I’ve asked council officers to begin work on options to see if there is any way we may take on a larger Christmas event in Ashfield.”