Bath Christmas market brings significant commercial benefits to the city. It also potentially brings nuisance and inconvenience to those who live and work in the city and we have an ongoing dialogue with the market organisers to ensure that they are aware of residents’ concerns and that any nuisance is minimised.
Moving forward the market needs to address three principal issues:
1. Concern about impact on traders outside its footprint
2. The increasing number of visitors
3. The loss of many of its traditional locations to the Footprint and Archway Projects
We were pleased to see the proposals to address the impact on traders and understand that they have been well received by the businesses involved. We have raised some concerns about potential noise nuisance, road closures and pedestrian flows and have received assurances that these issues will be addressed in the event plan.
The professional event planners advising VisitBath propose to deal with the congestion issues created by increasing visitor numbers by spreading the market out over a greater number of days. While we have some concerns about the validity of this argument the only real way to test it is by trying it in practice. VisitBath have undertaken that they will only apply for permission for extended hours for a one year trial and will reapply next year afresh when the actual effects of such an extension can be evaluated. This seems to us a reasonable compromise.
We have expressed some concern about moving some of the market into the spine streets of the city centre and have received some assurances about the number and orientation of stalls but we will continue to monitor these plans. We have also asked that special provision is made to support people with mobility issues who will find it more difficult to avoid the challenges thrown up by the market and received assurances that this will be addressed in the stewarding plan and that key charities in the field will be involved in planning.