Cambridge City Council will begin exploring new opportunities to form the city’s winter event offer on Parker’s Piece for 2023.
Since 2007, the city’s winter offer, held annually on Parker’s Piece, has included a range of different seasonal attractions, including an ice rink, fun fair, food market, ice bar and ice slide. The most recent offer was ‘The North Pole’ event whose contract with the council ended last year.
Although bids were invited for a new winter offer for 2022, following a review of the tender submissions received and associated risks and benefits, the council has decided not to proceed with holding a seasonal event on Parker’s Piece this year.
The council will use the break to review and reconsider the winter offer, before planning for winter 2023. Given the council’s declared climate and biodiversity emergencies and commitment to being a net zero council by 2030, a key issue to be considered in the design of the new winter offer will be its environmental impact, including carbon footprint and impact on ground conditions.
This year’s break will also give the council the opportunity to undertake remedial works to improve the ground conditions on Parker’s Piece, following the impact of the extreme heat of the summer and ongoing drought conditions on the site’s grass cover.
Cllr Alex Collis, Executive Councillor for Open Spaces, Food Justice and Community Development, said: “We recognise the popularity of hosting a winter event on Parker’s Piece and the wider benefits it brings to the city.
“We are however mindful of the opinions of residents and the impact on the historic space it occupies.
“With contractual obligations and planning consents currently expired, and with offers for 2022 reviewed, this seems like a good time for a one year break.
“This will allow us to undertake local surveys this winter and evaluate the marketplace to enable us to host a new and exciting winter offer from 2023, with a reduced environmental impact.”