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'It's economic vandalism': Locals slam 'bizarre' decision to scrap England's oldest Christmas market as it's too popular
4 December 2023, 08:13 | Updated: 4 December 2023, 08:16
Locals have criticised the "bizarre" decision to scrap England's oldest Christmas market as it is too popular and could become a "safety risk".
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The annual Lincoln Christmas Market was due to open on the first weekend of December for a four-day extravaganza - but was cancelled over safety concerns.
The event - which attracts more than 300,000 visitors a year - has been going since 1982. It dates back to when three councillors visited Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, Lincoln's twin town in Germany.
In 2022 alone, 320,000 people attended the market, generating around £15 million for the city's economy.
But this year, the City of Lincoln Council decided to scrap the market because of fears of overcrowding - with a motion to bring the event back being rejected.
The council said it acted after a safety review of the 2022 event with the police, fire and ambulance services.
A spokesman said it was not possible to find an alternative "which was practically or financially feasible".
Local business owners have slammed the "bizarre" move, adding that it "makes no sense".
"It is so sad, people can't believe it, they're astonished," Rachel Whittaker, who runs a photography studio in the area, said, according to MailOnline.
"It's bizarre. Other places would fall over themselves to have a December weekend where hundreds of thousands of people are walking around your city, eating, drinking, shopping, having a brilliant time - and spending their money.
"And we are saying we don't want that? It makes no sense. This is the very thing that makes Lincoln so special at Christmas."
Claire Taylor, who runs an accessories shop in Steep Hill, said: "Footfall is declining in high streets everywhere.
"Local independent businesses have really struggled over the last few years. Now this is just another kick in the teeth."
Local Tory MP Karl McCartney said: "It's absolutely outrageous, it is cultural and economic vandalism.
"The financial pain this will inflict on local businesses and charities will be catastrophic. It is real-life nightmare before Christmas stuff."
He added that some overcrowding impacted the event in 2022 but officials should have worked on resolving the problem instead of cancelling it.