A cycling campaign group and charity in Oxford has released a statement after the organiser of the Christmas Market for 14 years pulled out.

Nicole Rahimi withdrew her bid to organise Oxford’s Christmas Market after the county council insisted on keeping a cycle lane on Broad Street open.

Ms Rahimi accused the council of “prioritising cyclists over businesses” but the council emphasised that she always knew that going ahead with the market was conditional upon keeping this cycle lane open.

City council leader Susan Brown said the council has “already had a second bidder for this market, and their bid has made a commitment to give priority to locally based traders where possible”.

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Oxford Mail: Cyclists travelling through OxfordCyclists travelling through Oxford (Image: Cllr Emily Kerr)

Cyclox, a cycling campaign group, released a statement two days ago which said it wanted to see a “thriving Christmas Market” and believed it was an “important part of the Christmas experience in Oxford”.

However, the group did say that it supported the decision to keep the cycle route open.

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It said: “The market in Broad Street will be a whole new experience now that car parking has gone.

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“Motor traffic volumes are so much less and the market spreads across the length of the street.

“We know that there will be a lot of people on foot walking in the cycle lane for the duration of the market, that this space must be seen as a shared space.”

Oxford Mail: Oxford Christmas MarketOxford Christmas Market

The group acknowledged there would be “key points where people on foot and on bikes will cross each others’ paths and pedestrians of course must have priority”.

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The cycling group said it looked forward to working with both the city and county council and the new Christmas market organiser to “help design space where everyone can co-exist safely”.

Further Oxford Mail coverage of the story can be found here.

Marc Evans, Oxfordshire County Council’s spokesman, emphasised that it was important to maintain the east to west cycle route through Broad Street.

He also said that Ms Rahimi would have been aware that there would be no cycle movements within either of the two market areas where the stalls are.

There would be various informal crossing areas where people could move safely between the east and west public spaces.

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He joined in the team in February 2023, after completing a History undergraduate degree at the University of York and studying for his NCTJ diploma in London.

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