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Storm of protest as ice rink & big wheel cancelled; and christmas craft market could be axed because of centenary square redevelopment.

Byline: GRAHAM YOUNG News Reporter graham.young@trinitymirror.com @_gyoung

NEWS that the ice rink and big wheel have been cancelled for Christmas by Birmingham City Council has sparked a furious reaction from readers.

Hundreds have taken to social media to hit out at the decision.

They range from anger and disappointment - to calls for German Market Birmingham to be axed, too.

The German Market was first staged 20 years ago in 1997 and has been held annually in its current form since 2001.

Major building works at Paradise Circus and Arena Central, as well as the PS10 million development of Centenary Square, have led to the cancellations.

This week the Mail revealed that Birmingham City Council had been unable to find alternative sites for the rink and wheel.

Lindsey Hayes said: "My little people will be heartbroken when they find out, they love ice skating on Christmas Eve night."

Sarah Johnson posted a similar view: "My six-year-old loved the ice rink and he's gutted it's not there this year." Andy Greig quipped: "Mr Scrooge is working overtime this time."

But Joanna Turton added: "Hey here's an idea... celebrate the birth of Jesus instead!" Echoing a view of many, Julie Jastrzebski suggested: "To be honest, the whole German market should be stopped as it's the same stuff every year and it's expensive."

But Matt Denning reflected the view of many when he said: "Running a children's charity, this is so sad because I know so many children we support usually go to the wheel and to see the lights. Sadly am sure whoever makes these decisions do not think of that."

And Jonathon O'Sullivan added: "So no Pype Hayes fireworks again. No Christmas parade. No big wheel or ice rink. Anything else we can't take our kids to enjoy now? So much for the second city."

And some were quick to point the blame at the city council as it struggles with the rubbish fiasco on our streets.

Mark Brown wrote: "No rubbish collections either, what a lovely city we live in. BCC you should be ashamed of yourselves."

THE Birmingham Christmas Craft Market is in danger of being cancelled this year.

The market is usually held in Centenary Square next to the ice rink and big wheel and compliments the nearby Frankfurt Market in Victoria Square and New Street.

But, after news the ice rink and big wheel will not return because of the building work in Centenary Square, there is doubt now over whether the craft market will return this Christmas.

Traders who take part are usually sent forms around Easter time and are expected to have paid in advance for their rent by the summer.

If the city hasn't they are doing." Christmas then they very, But with just two months to go before it should be starting in late November, no decision has yet been made about whether it can go ahead on a new site.

Sketts In the last few years, the market has offered local traders the chance to complement the German Market.

But the PS500 million redevelopment of Paradise Circus had already cut the site off from the German Market, leaving visitors with an awkward detour. This year's decision to build a giant hoarding around Centenary Square for its PS10 million redevelopment has already knocked out the big wheel and ice rink.

Neither city council officers nor the operator have been able to find an alternative site large enough to accommodate them.

Meanwhile, the council's official view about the Christmas Craft Market is that "discussions are still underway" about where it might be held.

But one regular trader, who asked not to be named, said: "I don't think the craft market is happening this year - and that's a bit of a drag as I love Birmingham and the city.

"We normally get the forms through around Easter and then we have to pay a few months after that.

"A stall can cost PS3,000 so I have to take a loan out."

The trader said getting a pitch was not always easy, even when the market was running normally.

council still decided what with the Craft Market are leaving it very late.

He said: "I will reapply as soon as I know the market is running because it's good to have a pitch that lasts five weeks." A spokesman for Stratford-upon-Avonbased Sketts Markets, which organises lots of events in the city, said it wasn't aware of plans to create another site now that Centenary Square is not available.

Markets "We don't normally put things on in Brindleyplace in December because if it's wet and windy there we've found that people don't want to come out.

"If the city council still hasn't decided what they are doing with the Christmas Craft Market then they are leaving it very, very late - traders need to know what they are doing."

If the city council still hasn't decided what they are doing with the Christmas Craft Market then they are leaving it very, very late. Sketts Markets
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 22, 2017
Words:840
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