Updated: Oct 28
With Christmas fast approaching and the need to social distance continuing Melton Borough Council, Melton BID and Melton Mowbray Town Estate have been making preparations to allow the community to celebrate safely during the festive period.
The official Christmas Light Switch On event which is hosted at the start of Melton's Christmas weekend will not be going ahead this year. The Victorian Christmas Fayre which attracts thousands of visitors to the town will also not go ahead.
A mulled wine stall during the Christmas Weekend in Melton last year.
In line with the national guidance, the festive celebrations will be scaled back this year compared to previous years and residents are reminded to play their part for the community and to maintain social distancing when in town. In order to support the community with this, businesses that are able to take advantage of the extension to the relaxed planning enforcement for the erection of marquees are encouraged to do so, to fully utilise the space available to them.
The heavily attended Christmas Light Switch on pictured in 2019.
The Melton BID is working with the Melton Mowbray Town Estate to ensure that the town centre will host a Christmas Market during the first weekend in December, which will be in lieu of the usual Christmas Light Switch on and Victorian Fayre weekend, which usually signifies the start of the Christmas period in Melton. Unfortunately the Christmas Tree Festival, The Festival of Cribs and Festival of Wreaths are also not taking place this year.
Cllr Joe Orson, Leader of the Council said, “Christmas is an important time of year for many children and families within our community. It is important to us that we can support the community this winter and mark the festive period within Melton. However, it is paramount that we protect the health and wellbeing, of all those in the community, and continue to follow the government guidance by celebrating safely.”
Leader of the Council, Councillor Joe Orson.
The Christmas Market will be held from Friday 4th to 6th December from 10am to 3pm, offering traditional festive gifts, local produce and hand-crafted wares to inspire visitors and residents alike to shop local and support the wealth of specialist businesses and producers home grown to Melton and the surrounding area.
Christmas along Sherrard Street in Melton in 2019.
As part of the commitment to support residents and businesses in the response and recovery phase to Covid-19, free parking will be available in the council owned long stay car parks on the four Fridays leading up to Christmas – Friday 27th November , Friday 4th December, Friday 11th December and Friday 18th December.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of this scheme on these days but need to keep in mind the need to adhere to social distancing measures whilst in the town.
When visiting the town during the rest of the week car park users are urged to use the PaybyPhone app to purchase their tickets, if they are able. This contactless method of payment will help reduce coin handling and contact with the ticket machines, in turn reducing the potential transmission of the virus and protecting vulnerable residents in our community.
Lee Freer, Chair of the Melton BID said “With this year being very much upside down for so many it was important for us to ensure that the lead into Christmas was given a bolster for local businesses, to have our Christmas market which will allow local businesses and stall holders to really have a chance to showcase their products on offer and hopefully ensure that local people and people visiting the town can get the gifts they need for loved ones in
the town. Businesses have put so much effort in of late to ensure they are operating safely and adhering to the government guidelines, this should really bring confidence to people and help and support our local businesses running into the Christmas period.”
Shoppers in Melton Town Centre at Christmas Time in 2018. Photo: NEMM
Billy Boulding, Town Estate Bailiff said “Although we are disappointed having to cancel the usual festive events, we are delighted to be partnering with the Melton BID to bring a Christmas Market to the people of the town. The market will provide a wide variety of produce and merchandise from our regular traders as well as new traders. We hope everyone can find that special gift, that perfect recipe ingredient, or whatever else is needed to complete their Christmas shopping. Please ensure social distancing is observed at all times when visiting the market.”
During December, the town centre will be suitably decorated with the Christmas lights and decorations, including a 25ft Christmas tree that will be placed in the newly constructed Christmas tree pit in the town centre Market Place. The lights will be turned on in time for the Christmas Market at the beginning of December. Due to regulations on events, crowds and large gatherings and to maintain the safety of the residents, their will be no event taking place to mark this occasion.
Christmas in Melton will be slightly different this year compared to this festive shot from 2019.
Cllr Joe Orson continued, “We are committed to supporting our residents and the local economy. We want to provide services that enable our communities to support one another. We encourage residents to take advance of the free parking Friday scheme and shop local to support the fantastic businesses we have within our borough. Whilst doing so, it is vital we all play our part to protect our community by following the guidance and shopping safely in the town. To assist with the safety in the town centre, the council may provide ambassadors, when needed, to support residents and shops and help everyone adhere to the guidance.”