Peterborough Christmas Market ‘a success’ despite ice bar and cathedral stalls closing

The Peterborough Christmas Market has been hailed as a “success” despite the ice bar and stalls in the cathedral closing due to a lack of footfall.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 11:09 am
Updated Monday, 9th December 2019, 12:51 pm

The festive market was re-introduced into the city centre this year and includes a number of stalls, as well as carousel rides and other activities.

Overall, organisers believe the market has been largely successful despite all stalls in the cathedral precincts being removed due to a shortage of customers, while the transformation of the Guildhall into an ice bar has also struggled, with the recent heavy rain given as a major issue.

The Christmas lights have also failed on several occasions, including on the tree, but Peterborough City Council insists “robust” measures have been taken to try and fix the problem.

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The Christmas market at the cathedral before it closed

Cabinet member for recreation Cllr Steve Allen said it was “perhaps too ambitious” to have extended the market from Cathedral Square into the cathedral precincts.

He told the Peterborough Telegraph: “At the lights switch-on we had a lot of people go in there, but over the weeks there’s been a lack of footfall.

“The weather has not been kind with torrential rain which has not put people in the mood to go a Christmas market.

“But the city centre market is going very well. People are bigging it up on social media. There’s a delightful carousel and a really nice family atmosphere which has really added to the Christmas flavour.

“It’s the first, full Christmas market for a few years. Like any of these things it takes time to gain momentum as the market becomes established. Word of mouth is important.”

The city council has contracted the running of the market to operator Dell after a tendering process.

Dell has made a number of chalets and sub-contracted them out to different traders.

However, the person running the TP Bar in the cathedral precincts and the ice bar has decided to close both, although there are hopes the ice bar will re-open.

Dell Winterbottom, who runs Dell, said: “We’ve had to close the cathedral grounds due to a lack of trade as traders were leaving. We just could not get people in.

“The only thing to do was pull it. It’s a shame it did not work.

“But we’re happy with what’s happening in the town centre. People are enjoying it - they’re on the carousel and having mulled wine. We’re seeing the stall traders doing good business.

“Next year we will try to enhance what’s in the city centre with more stalls and build on the footfall before going into the cathedral in the future. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and we should have just done the city centre and made it nice and small and built on it.

“Maybe we were a bit too ambitious.

“The person who was running the TP Bar runs the ice bar and said the weather had not been great for business. But I believe it will be open again.

“The weather has been cold and bitter, and because it’s open it’s not helped the situation. “

The market opened on November 15 at the same time as the lights were switched on and will remain open until December 28.

If it makes a profit the council will take a share of the returns, but otherwise Dell will pay nothing to the authority.

A couple of stalls have now moved from the cathedral to Bridge Street, while there are still some spaces available to sub-let.

Anyone interested in setting up a stall should contact the council.