BOURNEMOUTH'S Christmas market and Alpine Bar have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Civic leaders had already announced that the hugely popular Christmas Tree Wonderland would be unable to go ahead this year.

But today saw its plans for a smaller event, based in Bournemouth Square, called off.

A spokesman for BCP Council confirmed: "The planned open-air alpine experience which featured a single-storey bar with rentable igloos and the traditional market will no longer be able to proceed."

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Councillor Philip Broadhead, Deputy Leader of BCP Council, said: “Bournemouth is well known for putting on a memorable Christmas offering, and whilst we have been working hard to ensure we could continue to have a slightly reduced version under local restrictions it is understandable that that plan is no longer viable under a national lockdown.

“As a town, Bournemouth is well practised at adapting and responding quickly to changing circumstances especially when it comes to events in the town. We will continue to look at possible options that could allow us to put on some kind of offering from early December but only if it is safe and majority of businesses are able to open.

“It’s important to remember that Christmas is not cancelled but it will feel different this year. We remain optimistic that Bournemouth and other retail locations across the BCP Council area will bounce back when it comes to Christmas and we all need to play our part in supporting our local businesses.

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"This means continuing to support those local shops that are able to remain open, and if people do want to do their Christmas shopping early then why not choose to shop locally online.”

The planned market and Alpine Bar was supported by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Tourism, Coastal BID, the Town Centre BID, the BCP Destination Management Board and was to be operated by Seventa Events.

Simon Brookes from Seventa added: “It is of course a huge shame that our plans will no longer be going ahead. We have been overwhelmed with the amount of interest and bookings for the Alpine Bar Igloo Domes – and I want to re-assure all bookings that they will be refunded, but as a small team we ask customers just to bear with us and we will be in touch.

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"I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has worked so tirelessly to create our 2020 covid secure festivities, specifically the small businesses that were set to trade at the market."

Paul Kinvig, Chief Operating Officer, Town Centre BID, added: "It is a real shame that despite all the efforts of stakeholders and businesses involved that the decision has to be made, but it is completely understandable. It is important that we all now support local businesses for the next month online where and when we can."

Festive lighting will continue to be rolled out across the conurbation. Bournemouth will still have a number of light installations and a Christmas Tree in the Square.

Poole town centre will have decorative lighting from the Quay to Falkland Square, animations and illuminations. Christchurch will also feature a tree at Saxon’s Square and lighting throughout the high street.

Coastal villages will endeavour to have their own Christmas cheer. Boscombe has seen Christmas lighting installed at the pedestrianised high street and Southbourne will feature the local Rotary Club’s Tree of Lights which the public can sponsor in aid of MacMillan Cancer support.