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Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre given green light for next three years

PUBLISHED: 06:54 28 November 2018

Friends Katelyn and Chloe enjoying their waffles on a stick at  Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre 2018.  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Friends Katelyn and Chloe enjoying their waffles on a stick at Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre 2018. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Archant

An annual Christmas fayre held in west Suffolk, one of the largest in the UK, is to continue for at least another three years, it has been confirmed.

The future of the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre has been secured for the next three years after West Suffolk’s shadow executive gave its blessing for it to continue on Tuesday night, praising the success of the event which regularly attracts more than 120,000 visitors.

However, work will continue with stallholders and key tourism and business groups to see how the event can evolve to create a ‘Christmas in Bury’ experience.

Councillor Lance Stanbury, cabinet member for planning and growth at Forest Heath District Council, said: “The only way the continued success of this event can occur is if we as an administration continue to commit to the event.

Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre 2018.

Picture: RACHEL EDGEBury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre 2018. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“I think it certainly helps get Bury St Edmunds on the map, and if it’s a case where we want to cascade the love [to other West Suffolk towns] it will be good for the Bury brand.

“I encourage everyone to really embrace it.”

A task force was set up over the summer to assess all aspects of the event, and present a series of recommendations going forward.

But question marks were raised at St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s overview and scrutiny committee where the latest plan was described as “devoid of ambition”.

It prompted calls for a review in 2019 to assess whether it could be held over more days than the four it currently runs to be more akin to European festivals, and if it could become a winter experience across the town.

Ken and Frances, Barkers of Suffolk.

Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre 2018.

Picture: RACHEL EDGEKen and Frances, Barkers of Suffolk. Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre 2018. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

This year’s fayre was held across four days last weekend.

Councillor Susan Glossop, cabinet member for planning and growth at St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “It’s fair to say the Christmas Fayre is not universally welcomed by all the community, and its for us to appreciate the downside of the event as well as the benefits.

“We are going to have a debrief next week with officers [over this year’s event] but on the whole it was a really good family affair.”

West Suffolk Council’s scrutiny committee will be presented with an annual report going forward to assess the impact of the fayre, and look at areas for improvement.

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