When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Market row sparks review of street use
THE rules which dictate what events can be held in one of Oxford’s main streets are being reviewed.
Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said the council was consulting Broad Street businesses on the issue following a row over staging a Christmas market there.
In September last year, the council refused permission for the Oxford Christmas Market to be held in Broad Street instead of Oxford Castle, where it had been held for the previous three years.
Some Broad Street businesses argued it would harm their trade, but the decision angered Christmas market stallholders who claimed there was not enough passing trade at Oxford Castle.
Market organiser Nicole Rahimi, from Iffley, collected a petition of more than 1,200 signatures calling for the market to be held in Broad Street, which was submitted to the council.
Mr Price said there was an agreement years ago between businesses in Broad Street, Oxford University colleges, covered market traders and the council that would regulate when, where and how long events go on for.
He said: “The group behind the Christmas market made the decision not to commit to it.
“We are reviewing the criteria. That will carry on for the next two or three months and we will hopefully have something in place by April or May.”
He added: “The review was happening anyway. The city council’s events team have aspirations for doing more things around the city centre.”
Mr Price refused to provide examples of the type of criteria the group was reviewing, but said an event’s length and the period of time Broad Street would be closed to traffic was one of the main considerations when granting permission.
He said the review could pave the way for the Christmas market to be held in Broad Street in the future, adding: “Nothing is impossible.”
Zool Verjee, from Blackwell’s Bookshop in Broad Street, said: “From our point of view, the more events – of all kinds – that happen in Broad Street the better.
“We don’t find that it’s an impediment to trade, since people who enjoy the goings-on in this street will often then pop in and enjoy what our bookshops have to offer.”
Frank Smith, store operations manager for Boswells in Broad Street, said he was supportive of events that brought extra footfall to the street, but added: “As long as it is something that compliments what we have as opposed to something that competes with us.”
A variety of events have previously been held in Broad Street from markets to charity events and on Sunday a community market was held in conjunction with the Oxford Climate Forum, featured left.
Mr Price said this one-day market was different from the Christmas market, which would have been two and a half weeks, because of the length of time and added: “We have had a lot of one-day events and they easily meet the criteria.
“It is the longer ones that are difficult.”