By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 21 February 2023 • 14:34
Lincoln Christmas Market - Image Adlen Siljak / Shutterstock.com
Running for more than 40 years the four-day market has developed into one of the UK´s most successful with more than 250 stallholders offering a wide variety of goods in 2022.
The city´s executive committee is reported by the Daily Mail on Tuesday, February 21 to have expressed concerns that the market was becoming unmanageable and unsafe. Ric Metcalfe, City of Lincoln Council Leader said “the current market has gotten way too big” and “risked becoming unsafe” in the future.
But he refuted suggestions that the council had failed to manage the event and that overcrowding and inadequate crowd control were to blame after people described last year´s event as a nightmare.
Visitors to the market complained of long queues and overcrowding with some even calling it claustrophobic. Others criticised the city´s traffic control measures saying it was at times impossible to get in and out.
But rather than fix the problem, the council has chosen to bring it to an end and to spend the £260,000 used to run the market on smaller events throughout the year. The council has also said it will engage all stakeholders in putting together a programme of events for the future, adding that they had rules out all other options.
Councillor Chris Burke said: “Our paramount responsibility is to ensure visitors are safe.
“We’re not saying goodbye to Christmas, we’re going to enhance the Christmas spirit in our city. It will give us all an opportunity to celebrate Christmas in Lincoln together.”
But not everyone agrees with Lincoln MP Karl McCartney saying the city’s Labour councillors had “acted a bit like a convention of Grinches or Scrooges.
“I don’t think 30 minutes, if that, of discussion before they voted unanimously to scrap a 40-year-old Christmas market is giving due consideration and justice to the decision that they’ve made.
“Yes, there are people who have an issue with the market, but the vast majority knows it puts Lincoln on the map.
“Ultimately not only is it financially viable, it is also a very good window and advert and marketing for the city of Lincoln and the gateway for the rest of Lincolnshire.
“Yes, there are safety concerns and of course, nobody wants anybody to be put in any harm’s way at all. But that’s all manageable.”
A local photographer Rachel Whitaker has started a petition save the market saying: “We’re not rallying to save an over-crowded cash cow of an event. We’re calling on our local council to step up and recognise that Lincoln’s Christmas Market could be taken back to being the charmingly festive event it once was.”
Lincoln´s Christmas Market was the first German-style event in the UK following a visit by councillors to Neustadt in Germany. Since then it has grown from just 12 German-style stalls into an English Victorian-style market that remains ever-popular with locals.
It is understood that Lincoln is not the only one to scrap its hugely successful Christmas Market with Leeds and Glasgow said to be doing the same.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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