BUSINESS groups and politicians are teaming up to try to rescue Swindon’s Christmas market after the town centre management firm said it was too late to organise one this year.

In November, InSwindon decided to axe the 2012 event, planned to take place in Canal Walk, after Swindon Council voted to take enforcement action against another of its markets, in Havelock Square, due to a street trading ban which covers most of the town, except for Wharf Green.

The council’s licensing committee plans to lift the prohibition in some streets later this year to enable markets, but Rebecca Rowland, InSwindon’s office manager, says the Christmas market will not go ahead because it is too late to start organising and traders will not come to Wharf Green because of low footfall.

During a recent council meeting, she said the Christmas lights switch-on would not be affected, but a market could not be organised, unless the council would accept a market that did not offer something festive and different.

She said: “If we were to start now then I’m afraid that would be the case, because they won’t be the unique Christmas niche market you are expecting.

“These people decide those contracts the January after the Christmas period.

“And I experienced a lot of problems last year in trying to get that market set up. We had traders that were interested in Canal Walk but not Wharf Green. They aren’t going to trust me when I approach them, and I haven’t been able to approach them because I’ve had nothing secure to offer. It’s too late.”

Some permanent traders say the Christmas market increased footfall and trade in the past.

Since the meeting, Coun Emma Faramarzi (Con, Priory Vale), who is leading the council’s markets sub-group, said she had spoken to people who would work to ensure the market still happens in Canal Walk, including councillors, Swindon Chamber of Commerce, Swindon Federation of Small Businesses, and MPs Robert Buckland and Justin Tomlinson.

Coun Faramarzi, who is also chairman of Swindon FSB, said the group could help to promote the market, and provide some of the traders, while the markets sub-group would recommend to the licensing committee, on Thursday, that the ban be lifted in Canal Walk and Havelock Square.

Coun Faramarzi is meeting with Ms Roland in two weeks to discuss options.

“Between the Chamber of Commerce, InSwindon and the FSB, if they can’t pull off a Christmas market with seven months to go, I think we should all pack up and go home,” she said.

“There’s all their support there, the only thing we’re going to need is the support of residents in Swindon to come and spend time there.

“I understand what Rebecca was saying in the meeting, when she said it was insufficient time to deliver a Christmas market now because all of the market traders were signed up elsewhere, but I think it’s a good opportunity to get different people in with a different offer.”

But Jack McLeod, of Your Event organiser, which runs markets across the region, agreed it was too late to start organising a Christmas market, especially as traders did not trust Swindon because two popular markets had been stopped.

He added: “I think if they’re going to go down the Christmas market route they need to start low. In other words offer the traders a fair deal, maybe a low pitch rent.”

Anyone who can help with the Christmas market can email