Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Controversial Christmas Market Hailed a Success

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Controversial Christmas Market Hailed a Success

Article excerpt

Byline: DANIEL HOLLAND Local Democracy Reporter

NEWCASTLE'S biggest ever Christmas markets "undoubtedly" brought thousands of extra visitors to the city, council bosses have claimed.

The vastly expanded markets, which ran from mid-November until New Year's Eve, extended all the way along Blackett Street and Northumberland Street this year as well as occupying their usual site around Grey's Monument.

Such a massive extension of the festive attractions proved unpopular with many local businesses, who complained that their Christmas stalls duplicated their products and cost them trade at a crucial time of year.

But despite the event being labelled a "shambles" by some traders, leading councillor Ged Bell says he was very happy with the city centre's Christmas offering.

Coun Bell, Newcastle City Council's cabinet member for employment and culture, said: "For Christmas 2019 we set out to make Newcastle one of the places to be and to visit over the festive period and I'm absolutely delighted with how it went. "We made some huge changes to the festive offering in the city, most notably with the introduction of the biggest Christmas Markets we've ever had.

"The stalls and attractions were constantly busy and they undoubtedly brought thousands more people into the city.

"Then, a truly memorable few weeks were rounded off with two exceptional fireworks displays at the Civic Centre and the Quayside on New Year's Eve.

"It was a new approach for the city in 2019, and it has taken a huge amount of work to get this far.

"We now need to take stock, speak to key stakeholders and work together with everyone concerned to fine tune Christmas in Newcastle to put ourselves right up there as the one of the primary festive destinations."

The council said it has not yet carried out a full evaluation to assess the full impact of the Christmas markets on city centre footfall and the economy.

Veteran trader Albert Sayers, who claimed last year that the Christmas markets could put his long-standing fruit and veg stall in Northumberland Street out of business, said many of his regular customers avoided the crowded city centre over Christmas. …

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