BRAINTREE’S popular Christmas lights switch-on will be making a return to the town as it coincides with a pub’s festive event.

The Christmas lights switch-on is a highlight of the festive calendar each year, with Radio Essex’s presenters Martin and Su on hand to do the honours on the big day last year.

Braintree Council announced previously it “could not support an official switch-on due to budgetary constraints and the cost-of-living crisis”.

The news frustrated market traders across the town, with Olivia Washington, who runs Olivia’s Curiosities, accusing the council of “cancelling Christmas”.

Now, the event will be making a “semi-official” return, with the council arranging the switch on in line with a Christmas event being run by The Boar’s Head.

The Boar's Head and the businesses of the fountain end of the High Street will be putting on entertainment with a stage outside the pub, alongside a countdown to the switch-on.

The council’s popular bumper Christmas Market will also be running from 9am to 5.30pm.

A Braintree Council spokesman said: “As we have previously announced, due to budgetary constraints and the cost-of-living crisis, we unfortunately, cannot support an official switch on and main stage in Market Square this year, but we were always committed to providing the lights, Christmas tree and Christmas market.

“We aimed to line up turning on our Christmas lights with our Christmas market and other events in the town.

“Our lights will be switched on the evening of November 25 to coincide with the Christmas market, the George Yard lights, and the Boar’s Head planned event.”

Olivia was delighted with the news.

They said: “Hopefully visitors and residents will see this as a semi-official event and I am pleased the council has made the decision. We were all disappointed before.

“These events are always so good, it is great to see the town bustling with life.

“Councillor Butland is right, there is a cost of living crisis, and we need the trade.

“I hope it will be a good event for all of the market traders and bring a sense of community at Christmas time.”