Organiser yet to release an event plan or agree location for “replacement” Christmas Market

20 September 2021

Harrogate Borough Council cancelled Harrogate Christmas Market by refusing to communicate with the organisers.

A much smaller “replacement” market is still in doubt as an event plan or location has been agreed yet.

Since that time HBC have been working to facilitate another, much smaller market. It is a very strange development, as HBC shut down communications with the Christmas Market organisers saying they didn’t want it on Montpellier Hill.

Discussions were at an impasse, as although organisation of the market was well underway, reports had shown that there was no other suitable location in the town centre. The council themselves failed to put forward any other locations.

HBC have released a press release titled “Christmas is coming to town” with the apparent aim of moving public debate onto what they are supporting, or their agenda.

The issue being the council’s refusal to work with the Harrogate Christmas Market into facilitating it happening this year. It is certainly true that year-on-year the market organisers had jumped through the hoops set by HBC – this year HBC just pulled the rug from under them, and at short notice.

The Harrogate Christmas Market organisers bring around 170 stands, a small fairground and over 60 pre-booked coaches. The market replacement will apparently be around a fifth of the number of stands.

A spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council said:

Harrogate Borough Council have been working with Market Place Europe, Harrogate BID, North Yorkshire County Council and the various emergency services to ensure residents and visitors can celebrate the festive season safely this Christmas.

One of the issues for the Harrogate Christmas Market was the approval of the event plan. The new organisers have not submitted an event plan nor have an agreed location, so to say “Christmas is coming to town” is a little getting ahead of themselves.

A spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council said:

Suggested locations include Cambridge Street, Market Place, Station Square and Cambridge Crescent, but confirmation of these is subject to an acceptable event management plan and approval from the county council.


Brian Dunsby, who co-founded the original Harrogate Christmas Market with former Mayor John Fox, said:

They were disappointed that the Borough Council are clearly cooperating with an organiser of international markets when they refused to meet the traditional local organisers of the Harrogate Christmas Market to discuss the concerns raised by the emergency services and parks department personnel.

After beginning in 2012, our event on Montpellier Hill attracted nearly 200 stalls, 187 coach groups and over 85,000 visitors in 2019.

We are determined to organise another traditional Harrogate Christmas Market in November 2022 – hopefully in the usual location.

We also ploughed back over £90,000 into local good causes over the past five years.

It will be interesting to see how much the new venture will donate to similar local good causes.

Nick Rhodes, chief executive of Market Place Europe, said:

We are excited to bring our Christmas fayre to Harrogate town centre for the first time this December.

And are grateful to the teams at Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council for making it possible.


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