Christmas countdown begins as lights switched on and free parking boost announced

York Press: York Theatre Royal pantomime dame Berwick Kaler switches on the Christmas lights, with the Lord Mayor of York, Coun Keith Hyman, on the steps of the Mansion House York Theatre Royal pantomime dame Berwick Kaler switches on the Christmas lights, with the Lord Mayor of York, Coun Keith Hyman, on the steps of the Mansion House

YORK’S Christmas build-up has been boosted through free parking and bus travel and an £18,500 cash injection.

The boost, designed to draw more visitors and shoppers to the city centre, was unveiled by City of York Council as the city began its festive celebrations with the switch-on of the St Helen’s Square Christmas tree lights last night.

For the first time, Park&Ride passengers travelling into York after 6pm on the four Thursdays leading up to Christmas will receive a free return ticket thanks to the council and bus operator First, and free parking will be available at all council-run car parks as well as on Boxing Day.

The council has also provided £18,500 to light up 21 city-centre streets, including Stonegate, which faced a lights black-out this Christmas before the authority stepped in. Lights have also been loaned from Blackpool Council, with a 200-metre array running between trees in Parliament Street and 200 icicle lights in St Helen’s Square.

Council leader James Alexander said: “We’re keen to ensure the city-centre economy has the best chance of attracting as many customers as possible over the festive season by offering these incentives to get people experiencing York's unique and vibrant offer.”

Frank Wood, York Retail Forum chair, described the council backing as “fantastic news for businesses at a vitally important time of year”.

“Free parking and our stunning range of shops prove York is the place to be for Christmas shopping," he said.

Meanwhile, the crowds braved near torrential rain for the switch on of Christmas lights in Coppergate and St Helen’s Square. Teachers and pupils of Tadcaster Grammar School took to the stage in Coppergate to perform their Children In Need internet hit, Tad Gram Style.

In front of the Mansion House, a performance of festive tunes by the Railway Institute Golden Rail Band kept everyone’s spirits up despite the rain, before Father Christmas and York Theatre Royal pantomime dame Berwick Kaler appeared for the big switch on.

The tree in St Helen’s Square was funded by St Leonard’s Hospice through its Light Up A Life campaign, with each light sponsored to raise funds and remember a loved one, while a charity collection was held for the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Fund and Cancer Research.

Coun Sonja Crisp, the council’s culture and tourism boss, said the event marked the start of a series of magical Christmas events in the city.

Comments (29)

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8:15am Fri 23 Nov 12

pedalling paul says...

Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.
Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result. pedalling paul

8:20am Fri 23 Nov 12

Mark Brayshaw says...

Correction; the icicle lights in St Helen's Square are not from Blackpool
Correction; the icicle lights in St Helen's Square are not from Blackpool Mark Brayshaw

8:24am Fri 23 Nov 12

Mark Brayshaw says...

And there are actually 3600 icicle lights at first floor level in St Helen's Square added to the 300 led lights on the three trees on Betty's and 5000 led lights on the St Leonard's Hospice Christmas tree
And there are actually 3600 icicle lights at first floor level in St Helen's Square added to the 300 led lights on the three trees on Betty's and 5000 led lights on the St Leonard's Hospice Christmas tree Mark Brayshaw

8:40am Fri 23 Nov 12

nowthen says...

For the first time, Park&Ride passengers travelling into York after 6pm on the four Thursdays leading up to Christmas will receive a free return ticket thanks to the council and bus operator First, and free parking will be available at all council-run car parks as well as on Boxing Day..... That should read : " thanks to the council tax payer " .
For the first time, Park&Ride passengers travelling into York after 6pm on the four Thursdays leading up to Christmas will receive a free return ticket thanks to the council and bus operator First, and free parking will be available at all council-run car parks as well as on Boxing Day..... That should read : " thanks to the council tax payer " . nowthen

9:31am Fri 23 Nov 12

rambolanka says...

Don't forget that Bishy Road lights were also switched on last night. Plenty of parking and the BEST local community.
Don't forget that Bishy Road lights were also switched on last night. Plenty of parking and the BEST local community. rambolanka

9:45am Fri 23 Nov 12

boroboy66 says...

Can somebody please tell me where the fantastic range of shops are,i would love to visit them?.
Can somebody please tell me where the fantastic range of shops are,i would love to visit them?. boroboy66

9:54am Fri 23 Nov 12

Hicarrumba says...

@boroboy typing error, should have read fantastic array of coffee and mobile phone shops.
@boroboy typing error, should have read fantastic array of coffee and mobile phone shops. Hicarrumba

10:18am Fri 23 Nov 12

Sawday2 says...

pedalling paul wrote:
Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.
Unlike the rest of us who actually want to buy things and transport them home.

Anyone planning to take a tv home on their bike this year?
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.[/p][/quote]Unlike the rest of us who actually want to buy things and transport them home. Anyone planning to take a tv home on their bike this year? Sawday2

10:27am Fri 23 Nov 12

m dee says...

If the City centre was this bustling before the free parking announcement,would it not have been of more benefit to use it at the quieter times of the year when the car parks are half empty anyway,although the free bus travel sounds good.
If the City centre was this bustling before the free parking announcement,would it not have been of more benefit to use it at the quieter times of the year when the car parks are half empty anyway,although the free bus travel sounds good. m dee

10:45am Fri 23 Nov 12

roskoboskovic says...

the silly old fool must sit glued to his computer waiting to post inane remarks.get a life mate,go for a bike ride it s a nice day.
the silly old fool must sit glued to his computer waiting to post inane remarks.get a life mate,go for a bike ride it s a nice day. roskoboskovic

10:56am Fri 23 Nov 12

Jazzper says...

roskoboskovic wrote:
the silly old fool must sit glued to his computer waiting to post inane remarks.get a life mate,go for a bike ride it s a nice day.
Here here ! what a Pratt !
[quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: the silly old fool must sit glued to his computer waiting to post inane remarks.get a life mate,go for a bike ride it s a nice day.[/p][/quote]Here here ! what a Pratt ! Jazzper

12:58pm Fri 23 Nov 12

myselby says...

Its just good to see York with some Xmas lights for a change, just need some snow then job done - come on CYC let in Snow !
Its just good to see York with some Xmas lights for a change, just need some snow then job done - come on CYC let in Snow ! myselby

1:10pm Fri 23 Nov 12

kryten says...

Looks like a lot of fun was had in the clip above. Disgusted with the publishers or whoever the greedy swines are that stopped the school releasing a single to raise funds for charity........ Bah...Humbug to them!
Looks like a lot of fun was had in the clip above. Disgusted with the publishers or whoever the greedy swines are that stopped the school releasing a single to raise funds for charity........ Bah...Humbug to them! kryten

3:08pm Fri 23 Nov 12

York1900 says...

myselby wrote:
Its just good to see York with some Xmas lights for a change, just need some snow then job done - come on CYC let in Snow !
No we can not afford snow they have taken most of the salt bins away
[quote][p][bold]myselby[/bold] wrote: Its just good to see York with some Xmas lights for a change, just need some snow then job done - come on CYC let in Snow ![/p][/quote]No we can not afford snow they have taken most of the salt bins away York1900

3:13pm Fri 23 Nov 12

nowthen says...

York1900 wrote:
myselby wrote:
Its just good to see York with some Xmas lights for a change, just need some snow then job done - come on CYC let in Snow !
No we can not afford snow they have taken most of the salt bins away
True , but the snow'll cover all the litter and vomit up and make it look tidy for an hour.
[quote][p][bold]York1900[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]myselby[/bold] wrote: Its just good to see York with some Xmas lights for a change, just need some snow then job done - come on CYC let in Snow ![/p][/quote]No we can not afford snow they have taken most of the salt bins away[/p][/quote]True , but the snow'll cover all the litter and vomit up and make it look tidy for an hour. nowthen

3:36pm Fri 23 Nov 12

MouseHouse says...

Sawday2 wrote:
pedalling paul wrote:
Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.
Unlike the rest of us who actually want to buy things and transport them home.

Anyone planning to take a tv home on their bike this year?
I can honestly say that I have done all gift shopping and not once did I use my car. Bike and bus are perfect for that sort of thing. No need to drive a car just because you're buying stuff. Just plan things beforehand. Easy job.
[quote][p][bold]Sawday2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.[/p][/quote]Unlike the rest of us who actually want to buy things and transport them home. Anyone planning to take a tv home on their bike this year?[/p][/quote]I can honestly say that I have done all gift shopping and not once did I use my car. Bike and bus are perfect for that sort of thing. No need to drive a car just because you're buying stuff. Just plan things beforehand. Easy job. MouseHouse

4:26pm Fri 23 Nov 12

meme says...

Lets give CoYC a cheer for at least trying to help business in York despite some of the miserable detractors on here including inane pedalling paul.
Its a good start and i for one applaud them. After all its not costing us a fortune and we are lucky to live in such a fantastic city even if that does bring some problems with it.
I suspect many Cities around us would give their back teeth to have the same numbers of shoppers that we get but never will and look on with increasing jealousy as times get tougher
Lets give CoYC a cheer for at least trying to help business in York despite some of the miserable detractors on here including inane pedalling paul. Its a good start and i for one applaud them. After all its not costing us a fortune and we are lucky to live in such a fantastic city even if that does bring some problems with it. I suspect many Cities around us would give their back teeth to have the same numbers of shoppers that we get but never will and look on with increasing jealousy as times get tougher meme

8:52pm Fri 23 Nov 12

pedalling paul says...

Jazzper wrote:
roskoboskovic wrote:
the silly old fool must sit glued to his computer waiting to post inane remarks.get a life mate,go for a bike ride it s a nice day.
Here here ! what a Pratt !
No no...you mean Hear hear!! Spelling 5/10.
[quote][p][bold]Jazzper[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: the silly old fool must sit glued to his computer waiting to post inane remarks.get a life mate,go for a bike ride it s a nice day.[/p][/quote]Here here ! what a Pratt ![/p][/quote]No no...you mean Hear hear!! Spelling 5/10. pedalling paul

9:55pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Sawday2 says...

MouseHouse wrote:
Sawday2 wrote:
pedalling paul wrote:
Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.
Unlike the rest of us who actually want to buy things and transport them home.

Anyone planning to take a tv home on their bike this year?
I can honestly say that I have done all gift shopping and not once did I use my car. Bike and bus are perfect for that sort of thing. No need to drive a car just because you're buying stuff. Just plan things beforehand. Easy job.
I'd love to see a picture of you taking home a 42" tv on your bike. Luckily I had a car to take mine the 15 miles home.
[quote][p][bold]MouseHouse[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sawday2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.[/p][/quote]Unlike the rest of us who actually want to buy things and transport them home. Anyone planning to take a tv home on their bike this year?[/p][/quote]I can honestly say that I have done all gift shopping and not once did I use my car. Bike and bus are perfect for that sort of thing. No need to drive a car just because you're buying stuff. Just plan things beforehand. Easy job.[/p][/quote]I'd love to see a picture of you taking home a 42" tv on your bike. Luckily I had a car to take mine the 15 miles home. Sawday2

11:09pm Fri 23 Nov 12

piaggio1 says...

there again ,he/it, keeps very quite about his tourist /smelly/belching bus ??.
or have we given that up pp??
there again ,he/it, keeps very quite about his tourist /smelly/belching bus ??. or have we given that up pp?? piaggio1

11:40pm Fri 23 Nov 12

yorkborn66 says...

Until we get a reliable bus service with buses that don’t shake themselves to bits, I will do what I do every year and buy online or go to Leeds or Sheffield.
Thinking of going to Newcastle this year got a fantastic Christmas fair and lights that everyone agrees with and the council foots the bill within the business rates. Same old story every year, YCC and the traders etc.
We can moan about the roads and the users on said roads, speed limits etc, city centre shopping against Monks X, but the fact remains there is no long-term vision for York, just political point scoring, and pathetic sound bites.
York centre has cancer because of poor planning, a realistic transport policy, and stupidly high business rates, not to mention the greedy parking charges.
Don’t start rattling on about cycling, I do enough of that but choose not to carry bulky items on my bike, as per the Highway Code and use my car and travel out of York.
Until we get a reliable bus service with buses that don’t shake themselves to bits, I will do what I do every year and buy online or go to Leeds or Sheffield. Thinking of going to Newcastle this year got a fantastic Christmas fair and lights that everyone agrees with and the council foots the bill within the business rates. Same old story every year, YCC and the traders etc. We can moan about the roads and the users on said roads, speed limits etc, city centre shopping against Monks X, but the fact remains there is no long-term vision for York, just political point scoring, and pathetic sound bites. York centre has cancer because of poor planning, a realistic transport policy, and stupidly high business rates, not to mention the greedy parking charges. Don’t start rattling on about cycling, I do enough of that but choose not to carry bulky items on my bike, as per the Highway Code and use my car and travel out of York. yorkborn66

12:03am Sat 24 Nov 12

659ladiesRbest says...

Bike? I really do not care that you can pedal past me stuck in queue ... I shall be sitting in comfort, all warm and snug, listening to my music and not being rained, snowed or sleeted on or trying to cycle in a gale :) I really don't mind at all that you can arrive at the next set of traffic lights 1st!
Bike? I really do not care that you can pedal past me stuck in queue ... I shall be sitting in comfort, all warm and snug, listening to my music and not being rained, snowed or sleeted on or trying to cycle in a gale :) I really don't mind at all that you can arrive at the next set of traffic lights 1st! 659ladiesRbest

12:13am Sat 24 Nov 12

Yorkie-Clifton says...

pedalling paul wrote:
Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.
You miserable Sod .
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.[/p][/quote]You miserable Sod . Yorkie-Clifton

12:20am Sat 24 Nov 12

Yorkie-Clifton says...

pedalling paul wrote:
Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.
This guy MUST be an embarrassment to the cycling groups in York . He is the Cycling Publicity Person i understand . hahahahah.. They do need a different person to speak and promote on their behalf . He really is sad and silly .
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.[/p][/quote]This guy MUST be an embarrassment to the cycling groups in York . He is the Cycling Publicity Person i understand . hahahahah.. They do need a different person to speak and promote on their behalf . He really is sad and silly . Yorkie-Clifton

4:24am Sat 24 Nov 12

Magicman! says...

I did think the Parliament street lights were from Blackpool, as I've seen them both this year and last during the Illuminations.

I must say that from what I've seen of York's lights so far, they do look nicer than last year. The increase in LED lighting is also helping make it much more sparkly than previously. The lighting arrays attached to lamp posts from the rail station towards the minster are looking quite nice too.
I did think the Parliament street lights were from Blackpool, as I've seen them both this year and last during the Illuminations. I must say that from what I've seen of York's lights so far, they do look nicer than last year. The increase in LED lighting is also helping make it much more sparkly than previously. The lighting arrays attached to lamp posts from the rail station towards the minster are looking quite nice too. Magicman!

8:05am Sat 24 Nov 12

Diplodocus says...

Sawday2 wrote:
pedalling paul wrote: Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.
Unlike the rest of us who actually want to buy things and transport them home. Anyone planning to take a tv home on their bike this year?
Sawday2, last year I bought a TV and took it home by bike. I also biked home a fridge, flatpack wardrobes and bookcases. And no, I didn't block the road or slow down the traffic.
[quote][p][bold]Sawday2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Free parking sounds like a good idea to many, but the impact of additional car journeys on the road network could impact on the timekeeping of P&R services which use road space far more efficiently. Needless to say I shall rapidly pedal past any queues which develop as a result.[/p][/quote]Unlike the rest of us who actually want to buy things and transport them home. Anyone planning to take a tv home on their bike this year?[/p][/quote]Sawday2, last year I bought a TV and took it home by bike. I also biked home a fridge, flatpack wardrobes and bookcases. And no, I didn't block the road or slow down the traffic. Diplodocus

8:46am Sat 24 Nov 12

the commentator says...

I recently bought a new car and took it home on my pedal bike. I often take my car out for a bike ride, therefore getting the best of both worlds.
I recently bought a new car and took it home on my pedal bike. I often take my car out for a bike ride, therefore getting the best of both worlds. the commentator

5:12pm Sat 24 Nov 12

russeboy says...

A good effort on the lights this year, keep up the momentum and make them better next year
A good effort on the lights this year, keep up the momentum and make them better next year russeboy

6:56pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Jazzper says...

pedalling paul wrote:
Jazzper wrote:
roskoboskovic wrote:
the silly old fool must sit glued to his computer waiting to post inane remarks.get a life mate,go for a bike ride it s a nice day.
Here here ! what a Pratt !
No no...you mean Hear hear!! Spelling 5/10.
Success ! I was just testing to see if you read/replied to my post...like I said you are a Pratt, a pedalling one at that. ;-)
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jazzper[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: the silly old fool must sit glued to his computer waiting to post inane remarks.get a life mate,go for a bike ride it s a nice day.[/p][/quote]Here here ! what a Pratt ![/p][/quote]No no...you mean Hear hear!! Spelling 5/10.[/p][/quote]Success ! I was just testing to see if you read/replied to my post...like I said you are a Pratt, a pedalling one at that. ;-) Jazzper

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