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Not all over for Lincoln Christmas Market as councillors demand another look at decision to cancel popular event

The decision to cancel Lincoln's Christmas market will face greater scrutiny after it was called-in by a Conservative group.

The long-running festival was axed by the Labour-led City Of Lincoln Council over concerns about overcrowding and its escalating cost.

It was agreed that the budget will be reallocated to events throughout the year.

Lincoln Christmas market in 2018. (62554428)
Lincoln Christmas market in 2018. (62554428)

However, Conservative councillors Tom Dyer and Rachel Storer have called for an apology over lack of engagement with local businesses and residents beforehand.

They have also asked that the decision is paused while a full public consultation is carried out.

The proposals were publicly announced on February 10, and passed by the council's executive ten days later.

The cancellation of Lincoln's Christmas market is called in during a City of Lincoln Council meeting. (62642062)
The cancellation of Lincoln's Christmas market is called in during a City of Lincoln Council meeting. (62642062)

The decision will now go before a select committee in the next few weeks.

A statement says: “Whilst the Conservative Group acknowledge that changes had to be made to the Lincoln Christmas Market, the way in which the City of Lincoln Council’s Executive have handled this has fallen far short of what stakeholders and residents would expect from the council for such an essential event in Lincoln’s festive calendar.

“It is essential that the voices of Lincoln are heard before taking an axe to our biggest event.”

They have asked that the council issues a public apology for its “poor engagement” and reviews decision-making processes to stop this happening again.

The call-in motion also asks the council to “pause the decision to re-allocate funds away from the Christmas market” and “comprehensively consider alternative arrangements for the 2023 Christmas market.”

It has also called on the council to protect any funding which is reallocated from cuts for the next five financial years.

When the final decision was taken, council leader Ric Metcalfe said: “We need to think about the wider context of the market, in that Lincoln is a city that is a highly successful tourist and visitor attraction… we have a terrific base upon which to build something new by way of an alternative to our traditional Christmas market.”

More than 4,000 people have signed a petition opposing the cancellation.

The market was attended by a record 320,000 people in 2022, with concerns about overcrowding in the castle and Lawns area.

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