Bill for council bailout of Cardiff’s Christmas market revealed

March 18, 2011 7 Comments »
Bill for council bailout of Cardiff’s Christmas market revealed

cardiff christmas market

The cost of bailing out Cardiff’s Christmas market has been revealed as £40,000 to the taxpayer.

The market – which faced criticism from traders for its high costs – ended up being funded by Cardiff council to stop traders pulling out.

Retailers in the city centre said the market needed to remain for future years, but thought needed to be given to how it was run.

David Hughes-Lewis, chairman of Cardiff Retail Partnership, said: “I think the Christmas market was severley affected by the bad weather last year. The top end of High Street was out of bounds for at least a week.

“I think there’s a tendency to meddle and chop and change these things. We need to have a set place for it and people will get used to it.”

Mr Hughes-Lewis also said the market should be extended to include more of St Mary Street.

He said: “I would like to see the market go further down St Mary Street. We could also bring children’s rides into it and more food stalls to attract families. You need to give people a good reason to go to it.”

The freedom of information request showed the council received £20,000 of income from the fair. This also includes money from the forthcoming Spring Fair.

A spokesman for Cardiff council defended the Christmas market bailout, saying: “The Christmas Market was a part of the Cardiff @ Christmas shopping experience which aimed to re-establish footfall in the Castle Quarter and enhance the profile of St Johns Street and Working Street.

“The Christmas Market provided a range of different products for the large amount of visitors that were shopping in the city centre for Christmas and was a desirable addition to the experience of department stores, high street chains and independent shops.

“Figures for the December period show that there were daily retail sales of £3m in the city centre, which was an increase of five per cent compared to December 2009. Footfall also increased by six per cent compared to December 2009.”

A Christmas Market in 2009 generated £1,500 from five events over 73 days.

No one from Craffolk, the Vale of Glamorgan firm behind the market, was available to comment.

Cast your mind back, what did you think of the Christmas Market? How do you think it could be better? Let us know your views in the comments below

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  1. amydavies March 18, 2011 at 10:06 am - Reply

    The Christmas market was literally outside my front door and I barely used it, so I dread to think how many people from further away would have made the journey.

    For me, the reason I didn't was partly due to the snow – the area was extremely difficult to navigate. But the other big reason was that it wasn't open in the evening when I am there. I'm at work all day so for the majority of the time these were just sheds making it more difficult to get to my front door.

    When you compare Cardiff's Christmas market with Birmingham's very impressive German market it's very poor in comparison. In Birmingham the stalls are open at night and the atmosphere is very festive, serving mulled wine, festive foods and having rides – perhaps Cardiff should aim to emulate that rather than a bunch of stalls selling overpriced food and gifts with very little atmosphere to back it up.

  2. Geoff March 18, 2011 at 10:50 am - Reply

    I fail to see how this "cost" the Council Tax payer. Do you mean that the Council didn't raise as much from rent as they expected, based on previous experience? Or does the Council pay upfront for traders to attend and hope to re-coup that back as a percentage of profits? Or does the Council pay to hire the stalls(ie the actual structures), if so why? Confused.

    • Ed Walker March 18, 2011 at 10:57 am - Reply

      Thanks for your comment Geoff. Cardiff council covered £40,000 of rents/fees associated with the Christmas Market. Exact wording of the Freedom of Information request was:

      5. What was the total cost of the rent and fees that Cardiff council covered the cost of?

      £40,000 Subvention as this was the first event in High Street

  3. Paul March 18, 2011 at 11:12 am - Reply

    The market sold, IMO random odd craft things that no one wants.
    The market last year also suffered due to the very cold weather and heavy snow.

  4. peoplefirst March 19, 2011 at 11:17 am - Reply

    Having attend Christmas Markets in places as far afield as Manchester and Amsterdam, the Cardiff Christmas Markets has always been an embarrassment, road work style canvas tents being replaced by garden sheds selling Overpriced items equalled if not bettered by existing merchandise on sale elsewhere in the city on both price and quality.

  5. peoplefirst March 19, 2011 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Do we need 100+ bollards at the junction of Queen St/ St John St and Castle St /High St, salvage the overspend and establishing a quality market [not just Christmas] in the city centre… enhancing the Cardiff Indoor Market and replacing the Lost Mill Lane / Mary Ann St / Barrack ln Markets
    Cardiff is fast become a copy city of the lowest denomination of flats and chain stores: Cardiff should work towards its strengths as a unique, city focused regional capital.

  6. Shocked March 20, 2011 at 10:30 am - Reply

    It was good to see the stall in town, though it was very disjointed. There were stalls in different parts of the city and it took me a whilte to find most of them. Planning the location of the stalls would have been better.

    As mentioned, opening in the evenings would have been much much better as thats what the shops in St Davids do.

    And I don't think that craft stalls sell things that nobody wants, just might not be your cup of tea, Paul.

    I did like the mulled wine and food stalls and did a bit of shopping at them.

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