Christmas bonanza for town

Newmarket’s memorial hall gardens could be transformed into a winter wonderland this Christmas as councillors bid to boost the town’s seasonal appeal.

Plans are already being drawn up for the most expensive single project the town council has ever embarked on and on Tuesday details are due to go before councillors for approval after members of the leisure services committee agreed to set aside more than £9,000 of funding to help pay for the event.

The five-day extravaganza, planned from December 20 until Christmas Eve, would see a 15 by 15sq metre ice rink installed at the dipped end of the gardens, the trees, shrubs, walls and paths lit with Christmas lights, a machine producing snow falls, a spectacular light show, stilt walkers and ice sculptors.

Plans also include using the memorial hall for a Christmas market and art fair throughout the winter wonderland event.

Town clerk, Isabelle Barrett, who has been working on the proposal with members of the council’s events working group, said: “We all feel that this could be a wonderful new event for Newmarket, one that would attract families and visitors alike to the town in the run up to Christmas and an event that could be built upon each year and compete with larger neighbouring towns. It will be fantastic, I really believe that.”

At Monday’s meeting councillors agreed to seek additional sponsorship to support the event from local businesses and organisations.

Cllr Warwick Hirst, a member of the events committee said the idea had been well received by local retailers’ leaders and he was hopeful it would receive significant support from Forest Heath District Council.