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'Public safety' forces hike in stall fees at Lincoln Christmas Market

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: June 29, 2012

Lincoln Christmas Market

Lincoln Christmas Market

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Ensuring public safety at Lincoln Christmas Market is the driving force behind an increase in stall charges, say council leaders.

City of Lincoln councillors approved plans to ramp up this year's fees at a full council meeting on Tuesday, June 26.

It means stall holders in the castle will see an 11 per cent increase in the cost of stalls in its square and grounds, a 1 per cent increase in the majority of other stalls and a 93 per cent rise for fairground pitches in the Westgate area.

And despite objections from the opposing Conservative group, the leader of the Labour-run council, Ric Metcalfe, insisted they would not cut costs while they have a duty to ensure public safety.

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"We are working hard to make sure we get the most out of our resources," he said.

"However, that cannot and will not be at any compromise towards public safety at the Christmas Market. We are not going to start cutting back too much, people must be safe."

Safety costs for the council are varied. The planning of where stalls are placed, food hygiene, stewarding and health and safety all need to be considered.

"It comes in all shapes and sizes," said Mr Metcalfe. "Be it from making sure you don't get food poisoning to avoiding being trampled under foot.

"Taking it across the board it is huge, right from planning to what happens on the day.

"A large portion of the costs of running the market go on this. The only way to deal with the deficit is to increase the price of stalls."

In December 2011, 200,000 people went to the event over four days. It ran at a loss of £113,000 for the council, but new charges are intended to balance the books and ensure visitors are safe.

Tim Jones, of Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese in Ulceby Grange, has run a stall at the Christmas Market since 2000.

He understands the council's need to keep people safe. However, he is facing an increased cost with the food surcharge being raised 50 per cent.

It means he will pay £1,000 for a pitch in The Lawn and also £315 for selling his cheese.

"The council has a responsibility to taxpayers. They cannot lose money," he said. "But for us it might mean rethinking how we operate at the Christmas Market and possibly reducing the size of our stall."

Along with food there has also been a 163 per cent increase in the alcohol levy, which was the greatest concern to Councillor Geoffrey Kirby.

"There will be two increases for stands like the FFN, the wine organisation from our twin town of Neustadt in Germany," he said.

"Not only will their pitch go up, but they have an increase in alcohol levy to pay."

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  • Adrian1208  |  June 30 2012, 7:46PM

    rascall1 You watch jackanory it may well be your level of intelligence... But remember it's the people of Lincoln who's Council Tax that pays for the loss of £113,000

  • Adrian1208  |  June 30 2012, 7:40PM

    I think the fact that It ran at a loss of £113,000 last year is to why there needs to be an increase, it's not rocket sicence, the market on the whole is a load of rubbish, why people come from miles around is beyond me..... Most of the stalls sell cheap ****, thats over priced & of very poor quality...

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  • rascall1  |  June 30 2012, 1:34PM

    What a load of codswallop. No more to say on such a piffling ludlcruss load of bull. I have more respect for ones self than to raise my thoughts to writing my views on this subject. Im off to watch Jackanory now through the Round window. Bye

  • nigelsparky  |  June 29 2012, 3:27PM

    Health and safety is always a good reason to hide behind when it comes to justifying increasing the price of anything these days. However that said I visited the market for the very first time last year and have to say I was left feeling very disappointed with it. For me there was far too many of the same kind of stalls. If you wanted to buy cheese and handbags then go as there is plenty of choice, but apart from that very little else.

  • Fandal  |  June 29 2012, 10:27AM

    Also, the loss could be due to the number of stall holders who didn't have to pay, as a result of not choosing a refund from the 2010 cancelled market?

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  • ThornyRay  |  June 29 2012, 10:20AM

    This is what you get when you vote for Ric. He has no interest in Lincoln, just in power. This man is supposed to represent the workers party, he will be forcing honest hard working people to pay more. The result of this will mean the market will become more expensive to the consumer as traders look to make a profit. It will not improve quality, it will cause stalls who have become part of the market over a great number of years to seriously rethink if they want to stay. Lincoln is fast becoming a more expensive place to trade.

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  • Fandal  |  June 29 2012, 9:32AM

    The number of stall holders waiting for a slot to become free is nearly as big as the number of stall holders in attendance each year. I don't think that this will have a detrimental effect on the number of stalls, in fact I think it might even help improve the quality of the stalls

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  • TB78WHlNE  |  June 29 2012, 9:18AM

    Metcalfe's Muppets won't rest until they've run this and everything else into the ground. Still, what do you expect from the Nasty Party?

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  • Gixxerman  |  June 29 2012, 9:13AM

    Simple solution to the H&S issue - scrap the whole waste of time and effort.

  • camelherder  |  June 29 2012, 8:29AM

    What was the extra £113,000 spent on last year to create the loss in the first place?

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