LINCOLN Christmas Market has been cancelled for the first time in its 28-year history.
Bosses from City Hall axed the four-day event – set to start at 4pm today and run until 7pm on Sunday – after the county was battered by blizzarding conditions, causing several feet of snow in some areas.
The decision has been branded a "commercial disaster" by traders from the Bailgate, but those in charge said the risk to people's safety was too great.
Rob Bradley from the City of Lincoln Council is in charge of safety at the event. He said: "It is with extreme regret that we have taken the decision to cancel the Lincoln Christmas Market this year. This decision has not been made lightly.
"Everyone involved made a Herculean effort to try and keep the event on, but the weather has been too extreme.
"Police advice is for people not to travel at all unless it is absolutely necessary, so we don't want to encourage visitors and stall holders to travel to come along and risk getting stuck on the roads, or worse."
Market organisers had looked at postponing the event, but it would not have been possible to draft in support emergency services at such short notice. And making it a local event only was also not possible.
One trader who did not wish to be named had already travelled several hundred miles to the city to set up his stall. He slammed the decision, saying the council should have acted sooner.
"It's a disgrace. They should have looked at doing something else to keep it open. It's the 21st century, not the 1700s. I'm going to lose about £20,000 in trade because of this cancellation," he said.
Around 60 of the 250 market traders which paid months in advance for a stall had already made the trip to the city only to be turned away.
IN YOUR ECHO: Reaction to the cancellation of the Christmas Market, plus all the latest weather round-up.