Will the Bury St Edmunds Christmas fayre turn a profit this year after last year’s loss

The opening night of the Christmas Fayre in Bury.

The opening night of the Christmas Fayre in Bury. - Credit: Archant

Calls for the annual Christmas Fayre in Bury St Edmunds to turn a profit have been made, with councillors criticising a loss made in 2014.

The event is the largest in the region, with 120,000 visitors last year.

Despite the success, with more visitors year on year since its inception, a report from the fayre’s organisers, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, shows it lost £1,264 in 2014.

Councillor Angela Rushen, who is on the overview and scrutiny committee (O&S), said she was “disappointed” the fayre made a loss in 2014.

“While I don’t think we should be running it to make a big profit,” she said, “I do think it should at least wipe its face. If we were running it to make a small profit, then we would have a contingency to deal with unplanned costs.”

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It was a one-off cost to test the lamps on Angel Hill that meant 2014’s fayre did not make a profit.

Mrs Rushen added: “If we did run the fayre to make a small profit, then we would have money for costs like that. It makes good economic sense to make a profit and not to lose out.”

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At an O&S meeting last week councillors also discussed whether the fayre could do more to benefit local traders, with the 2014 review showing some stalls were coming from as far as Swansea.

Committee member Susan Glossop, who echoed Mrs Rushen’s concerns about the loss, said: “I am always keen to encourage potential new and young business owners. I want to make sure that some stalls at the fayre every year are given to local businesses. Whether that is through preferential rates, I don’t know. I want whatever we are doing to make sure that Bury gets the most benefit from the thousands of visitors.”

Planning for the 2015 fayre has been under way from the moment last year’s ended, so councillors at the scrutiny meeting were told their comments would be fed into planning for 2016.

In response to the concerns that local traders may not be getting the best deal, Sharon Fairweather, market development officer for the council, told the meeting that this year’s event will feature a Homemade in East Anglia section in the Cathedral Courtyard.

It emerged last week that despite efforts by the council to promote travelling to the fayre, which will run from November 26 to 29, by methods other than cars, it will coincide with engineering works by Network Rail on the Bury line. On the two busiest days, Saturday and Sunday, trains will be replaced by busses in and out of Bury. Greater Anglia has apologised for the inconvenience.

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