“Make it York” publish financial performance figures

Make it York“, the wholly Council owned QUANGO responsible for economic development activities in the City, has finally published its financial performance figures for the period up to and including November.

The figures include income from the St Nicholas Fair and Illuminating York but the cost of staging the two events are not revealed.

While the figures suggest that the company is on course to make a small surplus during the current financial year, the covering notes include a warning that the recent floods may impact on the final out-turns.

The figures are being discussed at a meeting which is taking place tomorrow (Monday) at West Offices (5:30pm). The meeting is open to members of the public.

It is expected that managers from Make it York will update the stakeholder committee on the actions that they took to help businesses that were being flooded on the evening of 26th December.

Residents will also want to know why plans to provide children’s rides at the St Nicholas Fair were abandoned?

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What’s on: St Nicholas Christmas Festival

Continues until Wed 23 Dec
St Nicks ChaletsWith a new twist for this year, Parliament Street will be home to a Scandinavian style tipi, a new Ice Trail, a new Choirs’ Weekend and the whole St Nicholas Festival and Fair will now run for 35 days.

Snug wooden chalets, dressed with twinkling lights will line Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square and Coppergate and for the first time will appear on the terrace of The Judge’s Lodging on Lendal.

In Kings Square, York’s Chocolate Story will be welcoming a very special guest, namely Father Christmas himself, who arrived into York on 19th November and will have his very own cosy wooden grotto.

Bringing ice back to the city centre, as part of York’s Christmas Festival, businesses from across York have sponsored thirty specially commissioned hand carved ice sculptures, designed by Glacial Art.

Thor’s Tipi will offer a festive experience, where friends and family can gather around a roaring fire, with cosy furs to keep the cold at bay, all in a beautiful giant tipi. Thor’s Tipi will be serving a delicious outdoor winter BBQ, homemade sweet treats, festive hot chocolate, mulled wine, draft ales and Christmas cocktails.

Over one hundred stallholders at the St Nicholas Fair will be selling a range of gifts including jewellery, ceramics, homewares, crafts and Yorkshire produce such as locally made wines and cheeses.

For more information please see www.visityork.org/christmas.aspx

Children disappointed as “Make it York” bans Christmas rides

Members of the public ride a carousel adjacent to the 'St Nicholas Fair' Christmas market in the city centre of York, Northern England on December 3, 2014. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)The traditional children’s Carousel has not been provided in the City centre St Nicholas Fair this year.

Despite assurances from the organisers “Make it York (MIY) – who banned the long standing Warringtons ride  from St Sampson’s Square – that a ride would be provided on the “Eye of York”, no such alternative has emerged.

The QUANGO claimed that the Carousels space was needed for stalls shuffled along Parliament Street to accommodate an outdoor bar labeled a “TiPi”.

It appears that the organisers didn’t seriously pursue the plan to extend the Fair onto areas like Duncombe Place. This would have had the added advantage of reducing the congestion which can sometimes be evident on Parliament Street where space for shoppers is limited.

With the St. Nicholas Fair only a couple of days old (it runs until 23rd December) further concerns are emerging about the management of the event (which we understand has been sub-contracted by MIY)

  • Yesterday road closures planned for Church Street and St Sampson’s Place had not been signposted.
Tipi bar

Tipi bar

  • As expected evening ban on traffic in Davygate – where several food outlets are located – was not being enforced.
  • Reports are also emerging of a disturbance in the “TiPi” bringing into further doubt the wisdom of putting more alcohol on the city’s streets.

There will be some serious questions to answer about where the money raised by rents from stalls (understood to range from £4000 to £20,000 for the duration of the Fair) will actually end up.

It seems unlikely that the vapid oversight arrangements that the York Council – which wholly owns the MIY organisation – has introduced will successfully lift the veil of secrecy which seems to permanently surround the activities of this organisation.




York children set to lose Christmas Carousel?

Members of the public ride a carousel adjacent to the 'St Nicholas Fair' Christmas market in the city centre of York, Northern England on December 3, 2014. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the public ride a carousel adjacent to the ‘St Nicholas Fair’ Christmas market in the city centre of York, on December 3, 2014.  OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

It looks like the new “Make it York” organisation is set to ban a famous childrens ride from the St Sampsons Square/Parliament Street area this Christmas. The festive music from the ride has added to the atmosphere in that part of the City.

A carousel ride has been a popular choice for hundreds of young (and not so young) children for a long time but we understand that their booking for a traditional pitch on St Sampson’s Square has been cancelled by “Make it York” 

Instead more market stalls are to provided in the Square with a “new attraction” likely to go outside Marks and Spencer.

Make it York have offered the carousel operators a pitch in the Eye of York, apparently unaware that the Ice Factor event was forced to move from there following complaints, of noise and distracting behaviour, from officials at  the adjacent County Court. The site would in any event not have a high enough footfall to justify installation and running costs.

There has been no discussions with Councillors over the move.

While many residents would welcome some consultation on what new attractions might be provided in the future during the Christmas and other seasons, it seems that the new organisation has yet to learn the importance of consultation with potential customers.Make it Talk angry mob score

It is only a few weeks since that the organisation announced that it was removing the fountain in Parliament Street, ostensibly again to provide more space for specialist stalls. The York Council later intervened and shelved the idea pending proper public consultation.

Make it York took over tourist promotion, economic development, the management of the Shambles (Newgate) market and city centre activities in April. The transfer of responsibilities – and a large budget – was criticised at the time for are lack of transparency, poor communications, lack of consultation and inadequate no performance measures.

The Council is represented on the make it York Board by its Leader Cllr Chris Steward




St Nicholas Fair extends to 3 weeks in 2014

St Nicholas Fayre York

One of the UK’s favourite Christmas markets is extending from four days to over three weeks for the first time in its 23-year and highly successful history.

This year, shoppers can enjoy St Nicholas Fair for fabulous pre-Christmas shopping for 25 days from Thursday 27 November to Sunday 21 December.

There will be a bigger build-up to Christmas this year with increased marketing and promotion, including a special grand opening weekend which will feature across the city centre. There’ll be lots to celebrate, including a rolling programme of different market stalls throughout the Fair, and themed weeks of speciality stall featuring Food, Sparkles and Toys.