Harrogate Christmas Market organisers shocked by 'hostile' reaction by council to their ideas at crucial meeting

The current organisers of Harrogate Christmas Market say they are "amazed" at what they say is a "hostile" response by Harrogate Borough Council to their hard work and willingness to address outstanding issues after a meeting today about the event's location.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 4:08 pm
Brian Dunsby OBE, one of the main organisers of Harrogate Christmas Market, said their own analysis showed that Montpellier Hill stood up well as a potential location.

The team issued a new statement after Harrogate Borough Council confirmed it would now be beginning talks with a new organiser for Harrogate Christmas Market after today's meeting.

The council says the move follows the continued resistance by current organisers to moving the popular event from Montpellier Hill.

A Harrogate Borough Council spokesman said: “Despite our best efforts, the organisers of Harrogate Christmas Market still believe that there are no alternative locations that are suitable for a Christmas market in Harrogate town centre.

“At a meeting this morning, officers discussed a number of viable alternative locations but these have been refused.

But Brian Dunsby OBE, one of the main organisers of Harrogate Christmas Market, said their own analysis showed that Montpellier Hill stood up well as a potential location and they were happy to make any safety and security adjustments deemed necessary.

In a statement, Harrogate Christmas Market said: "We are amazed at Harrogate Borough Council’s rapid publication of such a hostile statement following our positive meeting with council officers Rachel Joyce and Alison Wilson this morning.

"We went through our detailed analysis of the pros and cons of ten alternative locations in or near the town centre without finding one that could possibly accommodate the existing Harrogate Christmas Market with nearly 200 stalls, a Craft & Gift Marquee, Santa and his Reindeer and a Children’s Funfair.

The statement continued: "Discussion then turned to how could we overcome the remaining concerns raised by the council over the long-standing location on Montpellier Hill.

"We felt that the discussion was promising and we undertook to revisit all the outstanding issues raised by the police, fire and ambulance services following last actual event in 2019, which have been promised to us - together with other issues raised by the Council concerning the risk of overcrowding, necessary evacuation procedures, counter terrorism measures and the ongoing risk of Covid-19.

"We have undertaken to revise the Event Plan and resubmit it for further assessment which we hope will be positive.

The statement concluded: "If the Council wishes to invite an alternative organiser to put on Christmas Festivities in the Town Centre during December then that would be up to them."