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Sparkling suggestion to brighten up centre
9:07am Thursday 2nd August 2012 in Local news
Permanent illuminations are going up in Ilkley this week to add year-round sparkle to town centre attractions.
Thousands of white lights have already been put up in trees on central shopping street The Grove in an Ilkley Parish Council-led initiative to brighten up the main thoroughfare.
Lights are being switched on for the first time to coincide with this month’s Ilkley Summer Festival, but the illuminations are to be an all-year attraction, as well as adding to the festive feel of Ilkley’s traditional Christmas lights display.
Ilkley parish councillor Rory Marshall, the new project manager for Ilkley Christmas Lights, devised the scheme to boost the town centre’s appeal and potentially increase footfall in shops.
Councillor Marshall said: “The intention has been to complete work in time for the Ilkley Summer Festival and to switch the lights on every evening thereafter through-out the year to boost the appeal of the town centre – a touch of sparkle during the summer and especially welcome during the dark and rainy months.
“At Christmas time, of course, these lights will provide the perfect backdrop to the additional festive lighting to create a more substan-tial-looking display.”
The project has been made possible by the council opting to source its own festive lights and installation contractors this year, says Coun Marshall, making extensive savings. The council also secured sponsorship from Ilkley business The Grove Restaurant to light up the largest tree on The Grove.
The low-maintenance LED lights, which mimic traditional “warm white” fairy lights are expected to last around six years, and are expected to cost the local council around just £50 a year to run.
“It was a priority of mine for the display look as traditional as possible to compliment the heritage of Ilkley rather than the contentious blue lights which have been a bugbear of many residents in recent years,” said Coun Marshall.
The council is now inviting businesses on Brook Street and Station Road to consider sponsoring more lights in trees outside of their own premises, illuminating still more of the town centre.
Coun Marshall said: “I believe that we could enhance the entire town centre in this way and this would increase the pedestrian footfall to local businesses and shops whilst boosting the appeal of the town centre for residents and tourists.”
Any businesses which would like to get involved can contact Coun Marshall at Rorymarshall@hotmail.co.uk.