Graham Jones, leader of business group ROX - Backing Oxford Business - has written a letter suggesting a way to save Oxford Christmas Market.

We are both shocked and saddened by the news that Oxford Christmas Market may not continue this year, and, if so with a third less stalls.

When she started out in 2009, Nicole Rahimi, the organiser of the market, did not have full support from the retailers as, understandingly, they saw the market as a challenge to them.

READ MORE: Cycle lane may have to stay for Christmas market

However, she has won them round as they appreciate that the market brings in a much larger footfall, with many coming from beyond Oxfordshire.

Based in Broad Street it acts as a vital counterbalance to the Westgate, helping to spread the visitors through the city centre and bringing much needed business to the High, Turl Street, the Covered Market and Broad Street.

She has built it up to 60 stalls and she now incorporates a number of events involving local communities.

The market has received very good reviews across the country in many magazines and newspapers, providing beneficial publicity for Oxford in the lead up to Christmas.

When Oxfordshire County Council, with the support of the City Council, removed cars from Broad Street, negatively affecting businesses in the area, including the Covered Market, the County Council claimed that it would provide more event space.

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However, this is not the case and the organiser has been told that she has to reduce it to about 40 stalls with a route through two new market areas to allow for a cycle route.

Oxford Mail:

Apart from 40 stalls no longer being viable, it means that it will fail to attract very many people as it will be competing with the likes of Cheltenham, planning on 80 stalls this year, Stratford upon Avon, Newbury and many more.

For many cities and towns and across the UK and on the continent, Christmas Markets take over most of their centres for a good many days as the local authorities see them as a chance to give a boost to their local economy.

We do not want to see such a large scale operation in Oxford but allowing just 60 stalls in Broad Street should be achievable without any major inconvenience.

We ask the two councils to work with Nicole Rahimi to find a suitable solution.

Graham Jones

ROX - Backing Oxford Business

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

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