Focus on tourism for lights campaign

BUSINESS leaders in an ancient North Yorkshire market town have launched a community Christmas lights campaign in a bid to boost tourism in the town over the festive season.

The Knaresborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce plans to replace the town’s 10-year-old lights with a new display that will rival neighbouring Harrogate.

The group has already received backing from Welcome to Yorkshire, Harrogate Council and pub group Market Town Taverns. Now it plans to appeal to local businesses for support as part of a community scheme that has already proved a huge success in Harrogate.

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Chamber member Tony Handley, who is also a member of Knaresborough Town Council, said: “We need a financial push to raise more money an the outcome will be we will have brand new lights. The chamber of trade has already bought a 10ft wide snowflake which is set to be a showstopper and we have been looking into the feasibility of hanging a curtain of lights across the viaduct. However, that is unlikely this year as there is a lot of red tape.

“In Harrogate the chamber of trade runs the campaign and they gets an amount of money from the council. The rest of the money then comes from shopkeepers in the town.

“Knaresborough has always done it differently. The town council has provided lights in the past, so this year we are beginning to adapt the Harrogate model.”

Mr Handley said a Christmas lights working group had been set up in June and work had already begun to replace the lights.

“Over the years some have been broken and replaced with other lights and they have all got a bit ragged,” he added.

“The new lights will boost tourism as the combination of the Harrogate and Knaresborough displays will attract more visitors. With our history and the river and the shops Harrogate has, that’s got to be a much better tourist combination.”