CIRENCESTER’S Christmas celebrations will be reined in this year.

At Tuesday’s meeting of Cirencester Town Council it was revealed that that last year’s Christmas in Cirencester event made a loss of £28,000 and members agreed to a scaled-back event this year.

Speaking at the meeting, chief executive Andrew Tubb said the town’s Christmas market – which ran for 17 days in December – had only been busy at weekends.

"A lot of people weren’t parting with their money but that’s the general economic situation we are in," he said.

The total footfall at the market was recorded as 62,868, with only 17 coaches visiting the town during this time. In comparison, Cirencester Parish Church saw 77,968 visitors walk through its doors during the same period.

The Christmas Market was launched in 2010 and has cost £350,000 to date.

This year the celebrations included a controversial skating rink in the Abbey Grounds, which cost £32,000 to set up and run – £12,000 more than was originally estimated – but brought in just £9,000 in tickets sales.

At Tuesday’s meeting Cllr Deryk Nash said Cirencester was far from alone in seeing its festive celebrations turn chilly.

"It’s just a general feeling that people don’t want to go out and spend money," he said. "The weather certainly didn’t help either."

The 2012 event was managed by Keystone but the town council will take over the running of this year’s celebrations and plans a series of smaller events at weekends only in the run up to Christmas.

Although traders from outside the town will still be welcome to set up shop, the festivities will focus on Cirencester’s existing market traders, with the aim of giving them a much-needed boost.

Cllr Nash said the planned revamp of the market place could revitalise the town’s festive celebrations in years to come.

"Hopefully in 2014 we can come back with a new lease of life," he said.

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