Expansion of Bath Christmas Market axed following objections
Plans for a satellite Christmas market in the centre of Bath have been withdrawn after intense criticism from nearby businesses.
The licensing application for a 12-stall mini-market at the bottom of Broad Street, outside St Michael's Without Church, had been due to be discussed at a council meeting on Tuesday morning.
However, it had triggered objections from businesses in the area, including the owners of Rossiters, the Framing Workshop and Kiss The Frog Again, and has now been axed.
The idea behind the plans, which were put together by the church and Milsom Place shopping centre, was to expand on the success of the city's main Christmas market and bring more visitors to that area of Bath. They said the satellite market would relieve pressure on the area around the abbey, and bring extra footfall to Broad Street and Walcot Street.
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In his objection, Peter James, the managing director of Rossiters department store, said: "There is no problem with customer flow in Broad Street at Christmas as far as my business is concerned.
"I fear the impact of having the market at the bottom of the street will hinder flow up the street rather than improve it."
Caroline Vincent and Jenny Carruthers, from homeware shop Kiss The Frog Again, added: "We are already under immense pressure due to the economic climate, and the introduction of direct competitors on our doorstep will make trading even more difficult."
Nick Brooks-Sykes, chief executive of main market organiser Bath Tourism Plus, said he supported the proposal in principle but wanted to see more consultation with residents and businesses.
He said: "We have been in discussion with both Milsom Place and St Michael's. We want to investigate how we can work together to realise their ambitions. I think what happened this year was that there hadn't been sufficient time given to work through the proposals. I think there needs to be greater discussion and consultation with businesses and residents in that area.
"So, looking forward, if we are going to be involved with that, I would want us to have a pro-active approach to that."
He added that another controversial aspect of the scheme, the closure of the bottom of Broad Street, had been suggested by Bath and North East Somerset Council and that the Christmas market plan was a response to this.