Sparkle of hope as Christmas market takes shape

Proposals for a Christmas market on the on the newly restored open spaces in Valley Gardens will be discussed by councillors next week (11 March).
They will decide whether to approve a bid from local business E3 Events to operate the market. The Brighton & Hove company has experience of working with Sussex Beacon, Brighton Half Marathon and Borde Hill Gardens. Their proposal includes giving a percentage of profits to support the local community and Valley Gardens.
Brighton & Hove’s Christmas market will be free to attend and run for three years, starting this year, from 26 November to 31 December. It will offer a mixture of retail stalls, food and drink, entertainment and attractions.

Re-starting events safely

Councillor Martin Osborne, co-chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee, said: “Events, retail and hospitality play such a major part in the life of our city and the sector has experienced severe losses during the pandemic. 

“While we cannot be complacent about the case rates we are facing today in our city, we are hoping to be able to support an offer of outdoor events by the end of this year to aid the recovery. And if everyone plays their part then hopefully a more normal life for the city will arrive by Christmas time.  

“Growing the offer for the city at Christmas time has been a long-standing ambition of ours and the Christmas market will provide opportunities for local suppliers and offer a wonderful winter attraction for residents and visitors.
“We received seven strong bids to operate the market and I thank them for their interest and the Business Improvement District for being part of the panel to evaluate the bids.”
Covid safety will be part of the event planning and take account of any government restrictions that may be in place at the time.

The preferred bid also includes a commitment to prevent the use of single use plastics in the market.

What happens next

Completion of the first two stages of the Valley Gardens project last autumn provides opportunities for new events in the heart of the city. Facilities for events' organisers such as on-site access to power, water and drainage were built into the scheme.
If approved by the committee, the market organisers will also need a premises licence.
The Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee will take place online from 4pm on Thursday, 11 March. Read the reports to be discussed and watch the meeting live.

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