Mounting safety concerns and adverse weather warnings have meant that a North Herts town has been forced to cancel its annual lights switch on.

Letchworth BID announced on Facebook yesterday afternoon that their coveted event - which was set to mark the return of in-person festivities after being forced to go online in 2020 - could not go ahead, due to predicted high winds and the threat of snow compromising the safety of staff and attendees.

The Business Improvement District announced to their followers:

We wanted our light show to blow you away...
Not high-winds to blow Santa right out of his sleigh! 🎅
We can't wait to see you, but we need to take care...
So we'll gather when the storm's swept off - see you there! 💨
We apologise for the late cancellation of our Christmas Lights Switch On this Saturday, but with the predicted weather forecast, our priority as always is making sure the people of Letchworth are safe. We will update you as soon as possible 💚

The Comet: Hundreds of families embrace the festivities at Letchworth's Christmas lights switch-on in 2019Hundreds of families embrace the festivities at Letchworth's Christmas lights switch-on in 2019 (Image: Jim Steele)

In an official statement, town centre manager Cathy Andrews said: "It is with regret that the Christmas lights switch-on event has now been cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions expected for Saturday.

"Yesterday morning we were on the phone to the experts, making sure the weather forecast is accurate and sadly, we are in for a real battering with gusts of up to 60mph!

"We have taken both insurance and health and safety advice. It is simply not safe to have children on a wet, wind-lashed stage and unsafe to even put the stage up. The same holds for the stalls run by the traders.

"We, at the Love Letchworth office, have been working hard for an extraordinary amount of time to put this event together and to make it a real success. We are hugely saddened that we have had to cancel the event, but the safety of the public is paramount.

She added: "Some of the businesses within the town centre will still be celebrating Christmas on a smaller scale this Saturday. Please keep an eye on our social media to see what they have planned and come and help support them."

As it stands, no rescheduled date has formally been announced - however, updates are set to follow in due course.

The magic of Christmas can still be enjoyed in Letchworth, with the festive market coming to the garden city on December 18, yuletide festivities happening every Saturday in the run up to December 25, and appearances from Letchworth's famed giant festive bear!

The Comet: Letchworth's giant teddy bear has returned this Christmas!Letchworth's giant teddy bear has returned this Christmas! (Image: Love Letchworth)