Review will investigate whether Bury St Edmunds’ Christmas Fayre could be ‘commercial’

Thousands flock to Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre.

Thousands flock to Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre. - Credit: Gregg Brown

One of Bury St Edmunds’ largest annual events could be run more commercially as part of a review, it has emerged.

The town’s Christmas Fayre, which was established in 2004, attracts more than 120,000 visitors to Bury over a four-day period.

Fair organisers, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, feels as the event is now in its 12th year, it is the “opportune” time for a formal review.

At a meeting of the borough’s overview and scrutiny committee yesterday it was agreed to establish a ‘task and finish group’ to carry it out.

A report that went before the committee said the work would “seek to gain a greater understanding of the resources needed for an event this size,” including staffing costs, officer’s time, income generation and future price increases for stallholders.

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It will also investigate running the Christmas Fayre as a commercial event and establishing an ‘arm’s length vehicle’ to run it.

Councillor Susan Glossop, said: “I would like to suggest we look at the impact on the local community when this fair takes place, like moving around the town and the parking, all that kind of thing.”

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Councillor Angela Rushen said: “There were a lot of people from the south-east area of Bury who were finding or asking why there weren’t more park and ride facilities in different places.”

Andrea Mayley, service manager for economic development and growth at the borough, said this was always an issue for the organisers and they tried to increase capacity whenever and wherever they could.

Chair of the committee, Diane Hind, said the review was a “positive step forward”.

“Lots of people complain about something,” she said. “Now we have an opportunity to look at things and see how they can be improved...or how it can be done.”

The review will be in time to influence the planning and delivery of the Christmas Fayre 2016 and form part of a five-year plan.

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