Christmas Market Harrogate
Christmas Market Harrogate

Harrogate Borough Council puts its support behind the Christmas Market

27 September 2016

Harrogate Borough Council have put their support behind the Harrogate Christmas Market.

The Christmas Market will be in it’s 5th year this year and has grown year on year since it began in 2012.

The report by Malcolm Veigas Consultancy was in May 2016 It was commissioned by Harrogate Borough Councils Parks and Environmental Service to independently review the operation and impact of Harrogate Christmas Market.

The Market is delivered by Yorkshire Business Market Ltd, a company set up by Harrogate Chamber (Brian and Beryl Dunsby, originally) as a mechanism to deliver the Yorkshire Business Market in Harrogate.. Brian Dunsby, until very recently, has been the Chief Executive of the Harrogate District Chamber.

  • 17 – 20 November 2016
  • Held on Montpellier Quarter of Harrogate
  • Free Entry

It is managed by Brian and Beryl Dunsby as a not for profit event with any profits put back into local organisations and events that also promote tourism and support the local economy.
The report acknowledges that:

  • It adds value to the local economy
  • It creates a sense of community and
  • It raises the profile of the Town during the festive period helping to create a competitive advantage
  • The market is now part of the leisure and tourism offering of the town.

The report looked at the location of the market and concluded that the current location was still the most suitable, but did acknowledge that some changes should be made in the licensing procedures..

Reflecting on the growth of the market, the report says that there should be closer better working between the Organisers market and Harrogate Borough Council and that the Council should formalise their procedures in dealing with events such as this.

It also said that procedures and management needed to be formalised further with such things as qualitative and quantitative evidence gathering, closer working to national standards in delivering events, transport plans and a more clearly defined list of charitable benefactors.
The report was tabled and approved at the HBC Cabinet meeting on 21 September 2016.


Councillor Michael Harrison:

Major events taking place in the District and smaller events taking place in local centres, whether ad hoc or regular, all support the strategy HBC are pursuing to position Harrogate District as a destination for tourism and commerce.  We recognise that large and small events can bring both short and long term benefits to the area, and we are mindful that we need to balance the needs of the organising body to make their event a success, against the needs of local residents and businesses.  We also have to recognise that not everyone is supportive of the council’s strategy.

The Christmas Market has grown organically, as opposed to being a purely commercial organisation approaching us to launch an event, and we must recognise that the success of the Market means that in order to promote its long term viability we need to jointly develop robust arrangements that promote the long term success of the event whilst balanced against the needs of local residents and businesses.  Agreeing these proposals, including offering a 3 year arrangement will help the Market thrive and flourish in a sustainable way and I am delighted to support it.



Brian Dunsby, who leads the team of experienced volunteers organising the Christmas Market, said:

We’re really pleased that the Cabinet has agreed to give us a three-year licence.

Being able to plan three years ahead makes the operation much more sustainable and means we can make decisions and commitments which just weren’t possible one a year-to-year basis.

It’s also great for local businesses in Harrogate, who know the Christmas Market will be taking place every year until at least 2018 and can make their own plans accordingly. One of our key aims has always been to support local businesses by bringing more visitors into Harrogate, and this decision will help to create certainty for them too.

Our volunteers put a lot of time and effort into the Christmas Market and our Traders and Visitors really appreciate their enthusiasm and hard work. Plans for this year’s event are on track and then it will be full steam ahead to begin work for the next three years!


Contrary to the Consultant’s report, the Organisers, Perlex Associates, are highly qualified professionals with over 40 years experience organising national and international trade shows, conventions and markets all over the UK. Brian and Beryl Dunsby give their extensive services on an expenses only basis with no charge for their time.

Brian also stressed that this is a not-for-profit event and they donate most of any surplus to a number of local organisations and events which also promote tourism in Harrogate District.

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