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Oxford Christmas markets set to return next year
A battle of the baubles could break out in Oxford next year with rival Christmas Markets on the cards.
It comes after Oxford City Council threw out plans to stage this year’s market in Broad Street because businesses did not support the idea.
Organisers of that event are determined to make it happen in Broad Street in 2013, claiming it is not viable in its previous home at the Oxford Castle Quarter.
But businesses and restaurants in the Oxford Castle Quarter, where the market was held for the last three years, think differently and have vowed to put on their own.
Max Mason, who runs the newly-reopened Big Bang restaurant in the complex, is coordinating the new market, to be held in 2013. He said: “Holding the Christmas Market at Oxford Castle has worked tremendously well for the past couple of years. It is an amazing complex and the biggest part of Oxford which is pedestrianised.
“The organisers of the other Christmas Market have done a superb job and it is a shame they won’t be continuing it this year.”
Mr Mason said no one had signed up for the new Christmas Market yet but said a number of people had expressed interest and it was being supported by all the businesses in the Castle Quarter.
He said: “I love Oxford and would love to see a Christmas Market in Broad Street but businesses and pedestrians would be so interrupted by it I don’t think it will happen.”
Mr Mason said his market would be a traditional British one but in the meantime this year there will be carol singers and a chestnut roast as well as a visit by Santa Claus himself at Oxford Castle.
Sarah Mayhew, of Oxford Castle Quarter, said: “I have had so many inquiries from stallholders asking about whether there will be a Christmas Market at the castle again and we are disappointed it won’t be.”
Nicole Rahimi had been organising this year’s Christmas Market before it was turned down by the city council and she plans to try again for a market in Broad Street in 2013.
She said: “Good luck to them but the Christmas Market has just not been working at the castle. It is too out of the way and not well known enough, even in Oxford.
“The reason I wanted to leave is the poor footfall during the weekdays and it is just not feasible to hold it over the weekends.”
She said not all Broad Street businesses were aware of the consultation when her application for a Christmas Market was processed.
Most shops in the street were, from her survey, in favour of the plans.
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