Herts Ad Comment: Give Christmas market to BID

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STOCK Generic office - Credit: Archant

Isn’t it about time the district council put the St Albans Christmas market out to tender?

Just as it has long since accepted that there are other companies better at running leisure facilities like Westminster Lodge and the Alban Arena, one could argue that SADC should bite the bullet and hand over control of the failing festive market to an external company to run.

After all, you only have to look at what St Albans BID (Business Improvement District) has implemented this year - from the George Street Gin Festival and St Albans Motor Show through to the Christmas lights and nutcracker trail - to wonder just what it would be able to achieve with the Christmas market.

There would then be the option of drawing on the expertise and talent of key players within the BID like Catherine Morris from Christopher Place and Maltings Shopping Centre manager Phil Corrigan, both of who know exactly how to achieve a commercially viable seasonal event.

Other leading BID members include the likes of Sean Hughes from The Boot and Dylans, who has extensive experience of outside catering, and BID manager Helen Burridge, the driving force behind the creation of the highly successful Alban Street Festival. And that’s just for starters.

All of these people are invested in developing the city centre as a viable destination for visitors and residents alike, and therefore would have a commitment to making sure an event like the Christmas market is a success both commercially and culturally.

The council has had a good crack at establishing the market over the past five years, but it is still operating at a substantial loss, which surely isn’t viable as a long-term concern?

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There certainly wouldn’t be any shame in putting the running of the market out to tender now, as this would arguably be in the best interests of the traders and the public alike.