Council to decide whether Bath Christmas Market can go ahead on 23 June

230720-Bath Christmas Markets stall-ITV News West Country
Covid safety measures would mean the number of chalet stands would be reduced from 205 to 161.

The fate of Bath Christmas Market 2021 is expected to be decided by councillors in the city next week.

The famous Christmas market was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, but in its twentieth year, there are hopes it can be run in a Covid-safe way this coming winter.

Bath and North Somerset Council's cabinet are to meet next Wednesday, 23 June, where a report says they must decide whether to proceed with the planning and delivery of the market.

The report recommends that the popular event goes ahead from November 25 to December 12 with an agreement about key gateway decision dates.

Bath's Christmas Market normally attracts 400,000 visitors per year, with an estimated spend in the city of £32.5 million in 2019.

These dates would be at key intervals in the planning process, which would allow the council to review current Covid-19 cases, pressures on the NHS and future modelling. This could allow the Council to scale back or cancel the market if necessary.

The dates would also respect a covenant that the market does not disrupt Bath residents in the week leading up to 25 December. Residents would also have their own exclusive night at the market on Wednesday 24 November according to the report.

Councillors will also decide whether to approve a £27,000 capital budget, funded from revenue, and to scale down the number of chalet stalls from 205 to 161, to enable visitors more space while keeping the size of the market to a similar size as in 2018/19.

'Express' planning permission is not required this year, due to changes in legislation which allows councils to deliver market events.

Councillor Dine Romero, cabinet member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture said: “Traditionally The Bath Christmas Market provides a huge boost to our retail, accommodation, hospitality and tourism sectors and this year could play a critical role in helping business recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

"In the past it has also provided a great platform to local charities and community groups.

“Operating it this year is not without risk and I am pleased to see there are measures in place to reduce both the risk to public health and the pressure on council budgets should government guidance change due Covid-19."

There will be fewer huts if the Bath Christmas Market goes ahead this year.

He added the market will not be advertised internationally, with a focus on attracting local visitors and helping those with accessibility requirements.

The market would also have environmental provisions, such as mains-fed electricity to reduce on-site fossil fuel use and an LED light only rule to make sure lighting is sustainable and efficient.

"These actions are another step in our commitment to tackling the climate emergency," Cllr Romero added.

The report says the Christmas Market is budgeted to be self-funded for the scaled backed 2021/22 market and from 2022/23 it is expected to generate a surplus, which would be reinvested back into future markets and events, as well as providing a sustainable income stream to the council.

Bath's market is ranked in the top 10 in Europe and attracts 400,000 visitors per year, with an estimated spend in the city of £32.5 million in 2019.

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