Plymouth's Lights Switch On Cancelled

The Plymouth City Centre Company is sorry to announce that it has been forced to cancel this year's Christmas lights switch-on event due to forecast high winds and torrential rain. 

The event was due to take place on Thursday 22 November but organisers have had to take the reluctant decision to cancel the event in the interests of public safety, in consultation with the Council's events and health and safety teams. 

Forecast wind speeds have been closely monitored and with gusts now expected to reach up to Gale Force 8 on Thursday, accompanied by very heavy rain, it would not be safe to set up the staging and technical equipment needed for the event. 

The Met Office has also warned of possible damage to temporary structures. 

The Christmas lights will still be switched on tomorrow evening and late night shopping will begin as planned. 

Santa's Grotto and the Christmas Market will also open. Both the City Centre Company and the Council are determined to reschedule the stage entertainment for a date closer to Christmas and positive discussions are already under way with all parties involved.

City Centre Manager Clint Jones said: "We're incredibly disappointed that the annual Christmas lights switch-on event can't go ahead as we had planned. 

"The severe weather warning for tomorrow is well beyond what we could consider to be safe for a stage and with public safety our top priority we cannot carry on with that element of the event. 

"Late night Christmas shopping will still begin tomorrow night and the lights themselves will be still be switched on at 6pm - just without the usual ceremony that goes with it! 

"The opening of the Christmas Market, Santa's Grotto and the Winter Ice Rink will still go ahead tomorrow night, so for those planning on heading into the city centre there will still be plenty to see and do. 

"We look forward to re-scheduling the stage programme to happen another night before Christmas." 

Deputy Council Leader Peter Smith said: "We know this news will be very disappointing not only to the thousands of spectators who were looking forward to the event but also the performers and special guests taking part. 

"Decisions like this are never taken lightly, a great deal of time and effort goes in to organising the switch-on, but public safety always has to be our number one priority. 

"We are very hopeful that the entertainment will still go ahead in a few weeks time."