Published on 11 September 2020
Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council have taken the decision to cancel this year's popular Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The market, which attracts around 125,000 visitors to the town, marks the start of the festive season in Stratford along with the Christmas Lights switch on and Thursday Christmas markets.
Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council says: "Under delegated powers, I have made a Leader's decision to cancel this year's Stratford Victorian Christmas Market. It's not a decision that's been taken lightly, but given the new Government guidance together with the ongoing public health emergency, it is the most sensible decision to make.
"Christmas will look a little different this year, but we look forward to seeing the market return in 2021."
Cllr Ian Shenton, Operations Portfolio with responsibility for markets says: "It is with much regret that we are cancelling the 2020 Stratford Victorian Christmas Market. With other Christmas Markets being cancelled for 2020, we have been receiving an increase in enquiries from national coach companies looking to bring day trippers to the event. With the possibility of large numbers of visitors coming to Stratford-upon-Avon to attend the Christmas Market, it was felt the town would not be able to comply with Government guidance and making it near impossible to observe social distancing.
"Although the market operator could provide a risk assessment and some COVID secure measures within the market stalls, the sheer numbers of visitors potentially attending would make it very difficult to provide assurance on compliance with social distancing measures within the town.
"This would have been the events fourth year and visitor numbers have been growing over the last three years; last year attracting in the region of 125,000 visitors. This market has proved to be an important event for the town itself, where town centre retail have benefitted from the increased footfall and sales, but look forward to its return in 2021."
Cllr Kevin Taylor, Chairman of the Markets Forum said: "Of course this is a disappointment for us all, particularly as our market was going from strength to strength and is now one of the top go to Christmas Market destinations in the country. However, safety has to be the first priority and the Town Council fully concurs with the decision to cancel this year's event."
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575