Following an extensive review and unanimous recommendations from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cabinet members have pledged to continue with the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre.
The fayre is held as both a community event and to attract visitors to the area who return to spend their time and money in West Suffolk throughout the year. It had been subject to an in depth review carried out by St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
That review looked at more than a dozen criteria including the length of the fayre and the location of stalls while also considering the impact on security measures and traffic congestion. The fayre review sought the views of other town centre partners including Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District (BID) which represents the voice of hundreds of town centre businesses, as well as Bury St Edmunds and Beyond Destination Management Organisation (DMO) which is responsible for promoting the area to tourists to come to visit not just at Christmas but all year round. Feedback on the future direction of the fayre was also provided by local residents associations and schools.
Cllr Susan Glossop, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Growth said: “Given that next year we will become the new West Suffolk Council plus the enhanced security around the fayre, it was only right that we took stock and held a thorough review to look at how it is best run in future years.
“This gave us the chance to look at all options and to speak to our local businesses and community groups to understand the impact that the fayre has both good and bad. We know that the town centre, its roads and our car parks are extremely busy during the fayre. But equally the feedback that we have from those that represent the voice of businesses in the town, is that the fayre boosts trade in the town, not just over the four days, but also from people who want to come back for a look during other times of the year. We also know that a great many local people enjoy this event and that it is well supported by community groups including local schools and choirs.
“We will of course continue to keep watch on how we best manage the safety of people at the Christmas Fayre – safety is paramount to all things so that is something that we will continue to do with the police, the fire service and other partners each year. Indeed we have commissioned an independent peer review to look at how we run the fayre, particularly given how it has grown in popularity in recent years, coupled with the extra security measures we now have in place.
“Finally I would like to thank all of my fellow councillors who took part in the review and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee who after much discussion voted in favour of the recommendations presented to Cabinet tonight.”
The recommendations of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, approved by Cabinet included continued discussions with the BID, DMO and other town centre partners about how the fayre best links in with other town centre events, an independent safety review, and a three year business plan allowing contracts to be let for that time period.
Cllr Diane Hind, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee said: “I am delighted that after a thorough review, the recommendations put forward by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee have been approved and will help shape the future success of the fayre.”