Lincolnshire

Lincoln Christmas market: Small profit prompts questions

Lincoln Christmas Market
Image caption Many traders said the one-way system hit takings and affected the atmosphere

Lincoln Christmas market risks becoming a "flop" after it was revealed the 2013 event made nearly £80,000 less than predicted.

A drop in coach parties and fewer stallholders have been blamed for the event making just £4,000.

The figures follow a £100,000 loss in 2012, but the City of Lincoln Council maintains the event's future is secure.

It is however, proposing a 12% rise in pitch fees, which a business leader said could drive stallholders away.

'Only fair'

Linda Wardale, chairman of the Bailgate Traders' Group, said traders may not be able to afford the increase.

"There will not be the variety of stalls there and it could be a potential flop," she said.

The 2012 event was heavily criticised for a one-way system, introduced to tackle overcrowding.

While coach numbers have declined in recent years, a council report said there was "a significant decrease" in 2013. The council said there were 438 in 2012, compared to 314 last Christmas.

There was also a fall in the number of stalls - from 243 to 199 - and parts of the castle were unavailable.

The report admits "it is increasingly clear that a fundamental review of the business plan is required" and recommends a 12% increase in pitch fees - to a maximum of £1,411.

Council leader Ric Metcalfe, said that some stall holders were making a "significant amount of money" at the Christmas market and should contribute to the running costs.

"Given there are very significant overhead costs falling on the council primarily but other public authorities as well, it's only fair that those businesses should share the infrastructure costs of maintaining the event," he said.

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