Christchurch Christmas market given go-ahead after bars scrapped

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christmas christchurch market
The market is due to be held in Saxon Square

A CHRISTMAS market will be held in Christchurch next month after a police objection was withdrawn.

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Dorset Police had opposed the Saxon Square event due to concerns “insufficient measures” were in place to manage crowds, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

But the decision last Thursday to place BCP Council into Tier 2 of the new coronavirus restrictions forced organiser Zoom Events to scrap plans to host two bars, in turn overcoming the force’s fears.

A council licensing sub-committee had been due to consider two temporary event notices covering the event from 3rd to 13th December.

They were due to discuss the objection from Dorset Police which said there was “significant concern” they would be required to attend to resolve conflicts and that “public safety would be undermined”.

However, the announcement that the county would fall into Tier 2 meant alcohol could only be served alongside “substantial meals”.

This prompted Zoom Events to scrap two bars it had planned for the market – a move that Dorset Police said addressed its concerns.

As a result, the planned sub-committee meeting on Friday morning was not needed.

Its chairwoman, Cllr Judy Butt, confirmed the police objection had been withdrawn and that the event would now be allowed.

“The main concern of police was people gathering around the bar and the potential difficulties that would create,” she said. “But yesterday’s decision on the tiers has meant those bars will now not be there.

“As a consequence, Dorset Police withdrew its objection and so we did not consider the temporary event notices.”

But she urged attendees to the market to be mindful of rules in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“This is the only event of its kind taking place in the area and there will likely be a lot of people in what is a rather small space,” she added.

“I would encourage people to enjoy the market but would plead for people to be mindful of keeping social distancing.”

The decision of Dorset Police to withdraw its objection was welcomed by Zoom Events director Paul Kennedy who confirmed the market would open on Thursday 3rd December.

“We are delighted to be hosting a festive market at the end of what has been a very difficult year for everyone,” he said. “We hope to bring a little Christmas cheer and a degree of normality to the people of Christchurch during these uncertain times.”

The market will run from 3rd-13th December and will be free to enter.

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