New look for town’s festive lights event?

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SCARBOROUGH’S Christmas Lights Switch On will be getting a revamp ahead of next year’s event.

Five years ago Scarborough dropped its celebrity switch- on in favour of a lights parade following police claims that the event might get out of control.

However with neighbouring towns attracting household names for their celebrations, organisers of the Scarborough switch-on have agreed to review the annual spectacle.

For years thousands of people gathered in Scarborough’s town centre to watch celebrities switch on the lights.

However in 2006, amid health and safety fears by the police, the event was cancelled – attracting ridicule across the country and even abroad. Coronation Street’s Fizz, played by Jennie McAlpine, was replaced by an electric timer.

The Christmas Lights Switch-on Parade has lit up the town ever since, which until this year featured a Scarborough girl crowned the Christmas Princess waving her wand to illuminate the streets. However some spectators have felt short-changed by the event.

Malton welcomed Steven Arnold, best known for playing Ashley Peacock in Coronation Street, while Norton’s lights were switched on by champion flat Jockey Paul Hanagan.

Nick Taylor, Scarborough Council’s investment manager who organises the Christmas lights switch-on event, has said the illumination will be reviewed for 2012.

He said: “The problem is we don’t have a big enough town centre for a traditional celebrity switch-on. We don’t have the space for the thousands of people that would turn up for something like that.

“It is not a cost issue, as this year’s parade cost £5,000, and equally we will be spending the same for the Reindeer Parade this weekend.

“We would have to do it somewhere else if we wanted a celebrity and that would open up all kinds of problems.

“We are open to suggestions though, and are wondering what to do best for next year.

“There will be discussions about it as we want to keep it fresh. In the mean time I’d like to thank all the people that took part in and turned out to watch this year’s event.”