Nottingham reveals controversial plans to host Christmas Market

Nottingham City Council has revealed controversial plans to host its annual Christmas Market – provoking a storm of derision across social media websites.

The move comes despite the city being placed under Tier 3 restrictions from next week, when the national lockdown ends, that says that all hospitality venues must remain closed.

The Nottingham Christmas Market attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year and is one of the busiest times for the event’s home in the city’s Old Market Square.

Saturday 5 December will see the opening of Nottingham Christmas Market – and will bring a collection of market stalls, rides, and take away refreshment stalls to the city centre. The market will be overlooked by a 32m high observation wheel.

Construction of the market and rides will begin on Friday evening (27 November). Nottingham Christmas Market is open every day from December 5 from 10am to 9pm, until 24 December.

Restrictions on large scale events and hospitality have meant that the Sur La Piste, Altitude bars, ice bar and outdoor ice skating rink are not able to be staged this year. No alcohol will be sold at Nottingham Christmas Market.

To avoid large crowds visitors are encouraged to visit the market off-peak. Additional trading hours have been scheduled as late as 9pm on most evenings, and with many city centre shops also opening late.

Other Covid-19 safety measures will include limiting capacity if required, enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures, and free hand sanitiser stations to ensure that the event can go ahead safely. Payments for rides, refreshments and at market stalls will be contactless wherever possible.

Councillor Dave Trimble, portfolio holder for leisure and culture said: “We are so pleased to be able to bring a little bit of Christmas magic and sparkle back to the city in this difficult year and we are very grateful to the Mellors Group for working so closely with us to develop a safe event within the regulations. We are really looking forward to seeing the city lit up for Christmas from the 32m observation wheel and hope everybody takes this chance to celebrate the festive season safely with us.”

Councillor Sam Webster, portfolio holder for finance, growth and the city centre said: “Despite the restrictions, challenges we’ve all faced and the need to do things differently this year, having a Christmas market is important for local people and the city’s local economy. It invites people into the city centre for a bit of festivity, to enjoy what the Christmas market traders can offer and encourages people to visit our other retailers in the city centre. We’re working with retailers and our public transport providers to stay open later to prevent overcrowding, keep visitors safe on their way in and out of the city centre and during their visit.”

Edward Mellors, creative director of Mellors Group which organises the event, said: “We are delighted to be able to deliver a festive Market to residents of Nottingham this Christmas time.

“It has clearly been a difficult year, and we couldn’t think of a better way than to safely spread some joy with our Covid-secure attractions.

“Visitors looking for a magical family experience can once again indulge in a variety of festive shopping, delicious take-away foods and fun-filled rides.”