Bulwell group 'confident' as council looks for new operator for Old Market Square events

The current operator for events held in Nottingham’s Old Market Square says it is ‘confident’ as Nottingham City Council looks to put the contract out to market to find an operator for the next five years.
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The authority says the existing contract for Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland and Nottingham Beach events will end after Christmas, and a new operator agreement needs to be sought to run them over the next five years.

Currently, Bulwell’s Mellors Group runs the events after the council awarded it the contract in 2016, and a two-year extension was renegotiated in 2020 to make up for the disruption caused by the Covid pandemic.

The council will be putting the contract back out to market and operators may now bid for the contracts for the summer and winter events separately.

Mellors Group will again be operating this year's Winter Wonderland in Nottingham City CentreMellors Group will again be operating this year's Winter Wonderland in Nottingham City Centre
Mellors Group will again be operating this year's Winter Wonderland in Nottingham City Centre

The Mellors Group says it remains ‘confident’ in its offer.

A spokesperson said: “For many years The Mellors Group have successfully operated the Nottingham Beach and Nottingham Winter Wonderland events on Old Market Square, enhancing the city’s appeal across both local and national audiences.

“Our approach of continuously improving these events can be seen in the investment made to last year’s Sky Skate Ice Path, bringing something fresh to Nottingham’s residents and visitors.

"This upgrade substantially increased city centre footfall during the festive season, particularly from visitors from further afield.

“In doing so, we’re pro-actively supporting both the local community and retailers, and by offering a city of Nottingham residents discount, our events become even more accessible.

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“We appreciate the council’s due diligence in wanting to ensure that they are getting the best and most cost-effective solution for Nottingham’s residents, but we are confident that our offer provides value, and supports the council’s ambitions now and in the future.”

The council says it must re-tender the contracts as to ‘comply with financial and procurement regulations’.

At a forthcoming commissioning and procurement executive committee meeting on October 10, it will be recommended councillors authorise the head of events and tourism to undertake a tender process to find a new provider.

Council documents ahead of the meeting say: “These events play an important role in enhancing the city’s shopping experience, events calendar, status and reputation whilst distinguishing the city centre as a unique place to visit and spend time.

“The Old Market Square is an exceptional commercial location and by tendering this unique opportunity will ensure that Nottingham continues to attract the best winter and summer offer and experience for the city whilst maximising its best value for Nottingham’s residents.

“The event offers for winter and summer in Old Market Square are now fundamentally different both in content and in commercial value to the council to enable us to do these as separate tender slots.

“This will allow the opportunity to fully test the market in terms of creativity and innovation for the potential offers and encourage a wide range of a supplier to submit tenders.

“There will be opportunity however for any individual supplier to submit for both opportunities.”