Question mark over Christmas market in Cirencester
NEXT year's Christmas celebrations in Cirencester have been put in doubt.
Bosses from the Chamber of Commerce have called on the town council to carefully consider its plans for the popular festive attraction.
The authority has removed £72,000 of funding for the Christmas in Cirencester event from its budget for 2013/14.
President of the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Jonathan Davies said: "It would be a shame if, after three years of trying to build the market up, there wasn't something in the town.
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"I would urge the town council to consider their plans carefully and not leave Cirencester without something at Christmas.
"It's fair to say that there are mixed views of how successful the market has been but it does promote the town and that has to be welcomed.
"New ventures take time to bed in but consistency is the key. I would urge them to look at alternative arrangements."
Annual reports revealed that the council had spent £350,000 over the past three years on the event, which includes the cost of buying the wooden Christmas market chalets as well as publicity costs.
Event management company Keystone took over the running of the event in 2011.
Director Jenny Stuart said a decision would be made by the town council in March.
She added: "That doesn't mean that it is not going to happen. Undoubtedly there will be Christmas in Cirencester – people will not be deprived."
Meryl Askew, of Tollhouse Country Crafts, set up a stall at the market in 2012 selling Christmas decorations.
She said: "We did ok in terms of business, particularly at the weekends, but it was very quiet during the week.
But Ms Stuart added retailers had got plenty of ideas from it.
Deputy Mayor of Cirencester Joe Harris said: "The market has been hit and miss in the past few years but we are planning to do something this year.
"One of the reasons we didn't include it in the budget is because the market place could well be dug up before then, which was certainly a factor against it, but there are lots of reasons that we need to look at.
"The Christmas market will be back.
"Nothing has been set in stone; there are several things that might tip the balance either way."