The Christmas lights twinkle in town centre

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Scarborough’s town centre traders have missed out on the chance of cashing in on lots of extra customers it has been claimed.

The issue was highlighted during the annual switch on of the town’s Christmas lights last Friday – which attracted a large crowd of people – as most major chains closed their doors at the normal time.

The news comes just a week after town centre shops called for a return of a higher profile event after it was scaled back over crowd control issues a few years back.

Keith Owen, of Tennyson Avenue, said he did understand why the ceremony was stopped but could not understand why shops remained closed this year.

He added: “I was in town at 5 40pm on Friday when there were masses of shoppers and helpers but guess what, most of the shops were shut or shutting.

“I only had a third grade secondary education but I could have organised the event better. What a lost opportunity for the retailers.”

The lights came on gradually , in a phased switch on, up Eastborough and along Westborough.

And to keep people entertained there was music provided by students from Yorkshire Coast College as well as a number of food stalls and attractions as part of the Bavarian Christmas Market.

However some members of the crowd commented that there was some confusion as to the proper start time.

Dan Hall, of Hoxton Road, had come to the event with his wife Lisa and three-year-old son Fletcher.

He said: “I think it’s quite a nice set up what they have done. The problem we have got is they didn’t advertise it. We found out it was 5.30pm then the changed it to 6pm.

“People are interested because there are a lot of people that have come out to see it.”

Lisa added: “It’s organised chaos. There are helpers and I asked one of them what was happening and she said ‘I don’t know’. Nobody knows what is going on.”

Cllr Janet Jefferson, who represents people living in the Castle Ward, said that young people always enjoyed the Christmas lights.

She added: “I always enjoyed the light switch on. Christmas lights always bring pleasure to everyone, young and old – they certainly need it in this economic climate.

“It’s good to see so many families but next year we need a proper switch on.”