Newcastle is preparing for Christmas 2020 without its new market operator due to uncertainty about the pandemic.
The council has agreed with Mellors a deferment of one year to their five-year contract to operate the Christmas markets in Newcastle after a successful launch in 2019.
But the spirit of the festive season – vital for retailers and traders in the city – will be very much alive, with plans to be drawn up in the coming weeks.
Although Mellors won’t be directly involved, they have pledged their commitment to the city and are keen to support the council in any way they can this year and they will be back in 2021 to build on last year’s market.
Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet member for Employment and Culture said: “Businesses across the city are experiencing an incredibly difficult time at the moment, but the council and our partners are standing closely by them and will support them in every way possible.
“Christmas is very much in our thinking as we plan for the months ahead and this will play a key role in the sustainable recovery of these businesses, our city and the wider region.
“We are also committed to help rebuild confidence and ensure the city thrives once again by harnessing the unique community spirit that exists here and creating a safe and welcoming environment.
“I very much look forward to seeing the plans for this year’s Christmas experience take shape.
“Mellors did a great job last year and the festive atmosphere in the city was amazing. A lot of lessons have been learned and we look forward to working with them again for 2021 and beyond.”
At this time there are no firm details of what events may take place this Christmas, but in the coming weeks the council, NE1 and other partners will work closely with local people and businesses to plan something appropriate for the city.
Edward Mellors, a Director of Mellors Group Events, said: “Clearly, the pandemic has had a major impact on us all and we appreciate cities have been particularly badly affected.
“We have built up a great relationship with Newcastle City Council and are very proud of what we achieved last Christmas. We loved getting to know the people of this city.
“It is completely understandable that the council need to plan for a different Christmas this year, especially as the next few months may be very unpredictable. We will support them in any way we can.
“We look forward to returning in 2021 and making the Christmas markets better than ever for the city.”