Harrogate Christmas Market on Montpellier Hill won’t return this year
Aug 4, 2023
Brian Dunsby and the market on Montpellier Hill.

Plans to bring back the original Harrogate Christmas Market on Montpellier Hill this year have been abandoned — but it could return in 2024.

The organisers have had all their suggested dates rejected by the council, on the grounds they clash with events like the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate Convention Centre and the Stray bonfire.

Harrogate Christmas Market was held annually on Montpellier Hill from 2012 to 2019 until it was halted by covid.

Organised by local people, it had 170 traders and 53 coaches booked to attend in 2021 when Harrogate Borough Council refused to grant a licence.

Instead the council organised its own Harrogate Christmas Fayre in conjunction with Market Place Europe, a specialist market company based in Greater Manchester.

candy cane express

The new Christmas market includes an ice rink and the Candy Cane Express road train.

The organisers of the Montpellier Hill event hoped the abolition of Harrogate Borough Council would lead to a change of fortune under the new North Yorkshire Council.

But in an email to supporters today, co-organiser Brian Dunsby confirmed the event will not go ahead this year.

Mr Dunsby said the company submitted an updated event management plan to North Yorkshire Council in April, adding:

“I am sorry to report that in spite of our very best efforts, North Yorkshire Council has finally rejected all our efforts to gain a licence for a resumption of the traditional Harrogate Christmas Market on Montpelier Hill and St Mary’s Walk on any date in November or even the end of October – due mainly to alleged conflicting events.”

He added “some personnel at the former Harrogate Borough Council” appeared to be  “doing all they can” to convince the new council not to allow the event to return.

Harrogate Christmas Market on Montpellier Hill in 2019.

He said Harrogate Christmas Market was told the final two weekends of October would not work because of nearby roadworks; the first weekend of November clashed with the bonfire; the second weekend clashed with Remembrance Sunday; the third clashed with the Knitting and Stitching Show and the fourth clashed with the council’s Harrogate Christmas Fayre.

Mr Dunsby, however, said he had finally secured a meeting with the new council to discuss plans for a market in 2024 after five months of trying to arrange a date.

He said he was confident this year’s event would have attracted 200 stalls — which would be considerably more than the number the new event has attracted so far.

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