Scrooges in Lincoln will be calling “Bah Humbug” for a while longer as the city council is putting together a 10-year vision for the future of the Christmas Market.
Council officers told members of the Performance and Scrutiny committee they wanted to create a “brand standard” for the event where Lincoln was “the jewel in the crown of a whole range of amazing events”.
The plans include drawing in more sponsorship and tying in further cultural events such as the Reindeer Festival in a bid to increase visitor spend.
Currently, the authority receives £4,400 in sponsorship, split between Stagecoach and East Midlands Trains.
Simon Colburn, assistant director for health and environment at the city council, explained they would like to get bigger companies on board to further cover costs of the market stalls, enabling it to expand further.
However, he acknowledged the growth would not be a quick one.
“Longer term I’m hoping it will generate more income, but we are year zero of ten.
“Spending a lot of money on year one on big-ticket items is not going to be realistic when we have to balance the budget and year-on-year contractor costs are going up.”
Councillors were generally supportive of the plans, with Councillor Lucinda Preston saying she was pleased to hear the vision.
She said criticism the market was “too commercial” was unfair. However, she called for the planned cultural events to aim to be free or as close to as possible.
The “aspirational” plans are in a draft stage and not available for public consumption at this time but it is understood the authority will meet with its partners in May to discuss the plans for at least the next three years.
The council made £54,160 profit for the 2018 event and councillors were given a brief report on the figures.
Mr Colburn told councillors a decision to freeze stall-holders fees for those returning following the 2017 cancellation had been “good for building confidence” but had left a dent in the income.
Councillors also heard there had been an increase in complaints about people parking in residential streets in the “outer area”.
Mr Colburn added that measures would be taken to tackle the issue, including meeting with residents to discuss their concerns.
“Without the tolerance of our residents we would struggle to hold the Christmas Markets,” he said.
The council says the christmas market generates an economic turnover in the region of £14 million including an estimated spend into the local economy of in excess of £2.5 million.