Christmas market vendors could return to a Bath street after a successful experiment last year.
Construction work around the Abbey forced Visit Bath to look further afield in 2018 and it set its sights on Milsom Street, which was transformed for the 18-day event.
It now wants permission to install 26 chalets and three mobile catering pitches in the road, and spill out into New Bond Street and Bond Street in order to “maximise public safety and improve crowd flow”.
Some 404,000 people visited Bath’s Christmas market last year, down from 409,000 in 2017, mirroring a national trend.
A Visit Bath spokesperson said: “Bath Christmas Market delivers in excess of £30million into the city – which shows that the event continues to be of huge economic benefit to Bath.
“We consider the market’s extension into Milsom Street a great success and we received lots of positive feedback from residents, visitors, stallholders and local retailers.
“The footprint had a very positive impact on Christmas sales and footfall figures for businesses in this area.
“Subject to planning, we aim to return to Orange Grove, once the Abbey’s Footprint project is complete, as well as continue to have chalets in Milsom Street.”
Visit Bath is consulting with stakeholders and will hold ongoing drop-in sessions so issues can be raised. It says it will ensure that full consideration is given to local businesses and residents during the event.
Road closures will be in place on Milsom Street, Quiet Street, New Bond Street and Green Street before, during and after the event, and parking will be restricted in George Street.
There will be 25 retail chalets, one catering chalet and three mobile catering pitches in and around Milsom Street – among 150 chalets across the city.
They will be positioned in the road so pavements, business doorways or window displays will not be obstructed or restricted in any way. There will also be sufficient space for emergency vehicles requiring access to the area.
Security will be on site 24 hours a day.
Bath Christmas Market is one of the South West’s largest open public events, and the organisers have a plan on how to prevent terrorism.
The application says: “A vehicle offers a convenient delivery mechanism for a large explosive device as well as the vehicle itself being used as used as a weapon.
“In conjunction with the Bath Christmas market existing hostile mitigation plan, Visit Bath will consider all ingress and egress routes that lead both directly and indirectly to Milsom Street and other market areas and will explain how the threat from a hostile vehicle can be reduced using a combination of physical barriers and improved monitoring systems.”
The Christmas market will run from Thursday 28th November to Sunday 15th December.
Bath and North East Somerset Council will decide the fate of the planning application.
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter