A left-wing-run council has come under heavy criticism for its decision to shut down England’s oldest continuous Christmas market over alleged safety concerns due to “overcrowding”.

The Lincoln Christmas market, a four-day celebration which sees over 300,000 people attend per year, was prevented from opening over the weekend after the local Labour Party-run council prohibited the festivities from taking place.

The leftist politicians justified their decision by claiming that the popularity of the market presented a “risk to public safety” due to alleged overcrowding, the Daily Mail reported. Suggestions to mitigate overcrowding such as issuing entrance tickets and expanding stalls to other surrounding streets were shot down by the left-wing council.

According to the paper, Lincoln Mayor Biff Bean spent the weekend in the city’s sister city of Neustadt in Germany and reportedly attended a Christmas market there.

The decision to shut down the Christmas market, which has been held annually since 1982, making it the longest-running in the country, has had serious economic repercussions for local businesses, with last year’s market bringing in approximately £15 million in revenue over the four days.

“It is so sad, people can’t believe it, they’re astonished,” said local photography studio operator Rachel Whittaker. “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, another local businesswoman, told the paper: “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.”

Lincoln’s Conservative MP Karl McCarthy also blasted the move by the local Labour Party, describing it as “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 said, adding: “No one in their right mind could think ending a 40-year-old Christmas tradition like this is the correct thing to do.”

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