ONE of York’s most famous shopping streets will not be left in the dark at Christmas after the council stepped in to help fund this year’s festive lights.

The Press revealed last month how a lack of contributions from shops in Stonegate meant there would not be enough money to pay for the hanging and maintenance of the annual illuminations.

However, in a letter to businesses in the area, Mulberry Hall owner Adam Sinclair said the lights can go ahead thanks to a £3,500 donation from City of York Council. The amount will cover half the costs of this year’s lights while traders will each be sent a bill for £99 to meet the rest of the funding.

Mr Sinclair, who is also chairman of Stonegate Traders, said: “It was always going to be 50/50 between the council and the traders, but why should the council pay for all of it?

“Christmas shopping is our life blood. Stonegate and Minster Gates have been a postcard image of Christmas in York so this is very important for the image of the city.”

Mr Sinclair also proposed a meeting in February between traders to discuss the future of the lights in Stonegate.

As the garlands were hung yesterday ahead of a switch on, business owners in Stonegate welcomed the news that the lights were to return.

Tony Brett, owner of the Pyramid Gallery, said: “This is the right result. I’m pleased the council is offering to pay something towards it and I’m quite happy to contribute my share if this has stimulated contributions from others in the street.”

He also welcomed a chance to discuss the future of Christmas lights in the street.

Mark Smith, manager of Ye Olde Starre Inne said the return of the lights was an “excellent thing” because he feared trade could be hit.

“We have always provided electricity for the lights,” he said. “It would have kept people away if they weren’t here this year.”