Hotel owner claims Christmas Market parking has cost him thousands

A hotel owner says he has lost thousands of pounds in booking cancellations, while he brands new Lincoln Christmas Market parking rules a “joke.”

The Castle Hotel on Westgate is right in the heart of the market and is normally booked out with happy guests for the festive period.

New rules introduced by the City of Lincoln Council however will prevent any cars from coming near to the annual event and business owners are unhappy about the changes.

To try and resolve any issues, the council is offering a free park and ride service from the Lincolnshire Showground for anyone needing to get to and from the uphill area.

As a result of the new rules, festive cheer is in short supply for the owner of The Castle Hotel.

“I appreciate we live in a different and challenging time regarding security and large events,” Paul Catlow, owner of The Castle Hotel, told The Lincolnite.

“However, the timing of the decision to not allow any vehicular access is ridiculous and one which has cost my business dearly already.

“One of the key selling points, which brings guests back to my hotel yearly, is the free parking we have offered for ten years.

“The issue is the timing of this decision. Yes, it’s eight weeks prior to the market but that shows no appreciation for how businesses work in the real world.”

The market brings thousands to the Cathedral Quarter. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Loyal guests at the hotel have cancelled their reservations after hearing that they would no longer get the parking that they were promised.

The Castle Hotel blames the new parking restrictions for losing out on over £4,000 and six room reservations, but they fear that more guests could cancel.

In response, Simon Colburn for the City of Lincoln Council, said: “The Lincoln Christmas Market has built up a reputation as a safe, fun family event over the years.

“Together with Lincolnshire Police, we have identified that the biggest risk to our visitors is the use of vehicles in pedestrian areas.

“In order to ensure that our visitors are completely safe this year, we’ve strengthened our restrictions at the inner cordon, and will not be letting vehicles into the central area of the market while it is operational.

“We are informing people of this change with eight weeks to go, so that they can make preparations well in advance.

“If people have concerns about anything serious relating to wellbeing, or anything that is critical to their business, we are very happy to discuss it with them prior to the event.”

A copy of the letter sent to the affected residents about the parking restrictions.

The letter continues…