IT would be easy to paint Oxford City Council as the Grinches who stole Christmas with the decision to dramatically downscale this year’s festive celebrations.

After all, last year was fantastic. And you can’t argue with statistics that 100,000 people were drawn in with an estimated boost of £1.8m to the economy.

It clearly worked.

That is why there will be widespread disappointment but the council was really between a rock and a hard place.

It is duty-bound to review how the festivities went and seek opinion.

Unfortunately, it would seem the wowsers and the Ebenezers had louder voices than those who enjoyed themselves. And so, when you add in the extra financial costs this year, the council faced a decision whether it could justify repeating the event.

They would have been damned if they went ahead and will be, in some quarters, damned because they are not.

There were a few traders who complained about the road closures last year but surely there will be far more adversely affected this year as that £1.8m pot will no doubt dwindle.

This is a real loss for the city and we only hope those responsible will understand why it is that Santa only leaves a lump of coal in their stocking come December 25.