February 24, 2023 2.26 pm This story is over 9 months old

Conservatives call for apology over Lincoln Christmas Market cancellation

They claim businesses weren’t properly consulted first

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

The long-running festival was axed by City of Lincoln Council this week over concerns about overcrowding and its escalating cost.

The budget will be reallocated to events throughout the year.

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 Executive ten days later.

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

The City of Lincoln Council’s executive made the decision on Monday night. | Image: Daniel Jaines

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 issue a public apology for its “poor engagement” and review 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.”

CCTV images presented to the meeting showed the busy crowds during the Saturday (third) peak day of the market, which visitors experienced for several hours | Photo: LDRS

It has also called on the council to protect any funding which 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.

MyLocal Lincolnshire is the new home of The Lincolnite. Download the app now.