Nottingham Christmas market forced to close for rest of the year after backlash over social distancing

Nottingham's Christmas Market has been forced to close for the rest of the year amid backlash over the lack of social distancing.

Organisers said they were "sorry it has not worked out" after hundreds of people crowded in Old Market Square on Saturday, prompting angry social media posts online.

Nottinghamshire is currently under Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions - where markets are permitted to continue trading in Tier 3.

In a joint statement with Nottingham City Council, Mellors Group said: "Plans were in place to control access to help manage the number of people entering the site at any one time and to continually monitor this throughout Saturday.

"However, numbers were too large to implement these effectively."

It said the city centre saw significant footfall on the first Saturday since the second national lockdown in England was lifted, and that it was “notably busier than anticipated”.

It continued: "Now that we have seen how busy the city centre was overall yesterday (Saturday), we have taken the decision not to reopen the market again at all this year.

"We know this will be very disappointing for many local people who were looking forward to visiting and for the stall holders, many of them local, for whom this was a vital opportunity to trade in what has been an incredibly difficult year."

It added: "The views being expressed both for and against are very important to us and we have listened carefully.

"The decision to go ahead with the market was not taken lightly nor has the decision to close.

"We’re sorry it has not worked out."

Nottinghamshire Police said officers were at the market all day to provide visible presence and to break up large crowds.