YORK'S Christmas lights switch-on event has been cancelled this year.

The lights themselves will still be lit and appear across the city centre.

However, a decision to cancel the grand switch-on event was taken by Make It York and York BID (Business Improvement District) due to the risk of overcrowding in the city centre.

A spokesperson for Make It York today said: "After much consideration the decision has been taken in partnership with York BID not to hold a physical light switch-on event this year.

"The event is always hugely popular, drawing in large crowds over a short period of time "The lights will of course be as spectacular as ever across the city centre - with the medieval bars once again lit up, the Tree of Light at the Eye of York and Christmas trees on St Helen's Square, Parliament Street and Shambles Market."

They added: "We hope to be able to bring this much-loved event back for 2022 better than ever."

Make It York has taken other measures to reduce overcrowding over the festive season, including installing security barriers to control pedestrian activity across the city centre ahead of the St Nicholas Fair.

The switch-on event has in previous years been held in St Helen's Square.

However, the last switch on event to go-head, in 2019, was held in the new location of Duncombe Place, with the iconic backdrop of the Minster. In 2020 the event was also cancelled because of Covid.

However, a 'secret lights switch-on' did take place at York's Coppergate Centre on Wednesday, November 10.

The lights were turned on by pantomime legend, Dame Berwick Kaler, and his co-star Martin Barrass, who are both set to star in the panto Dick Turpin Rides Again at the Grand Opera House this year.

Coppergate Centre manager, Pippa Unwin, told The Press that it was kept a 'secret event' to avoid the risk of crowds.

Previous Christmas Light events in York have often attracted huge crowds, with the lights being switched on by local stars.

Make It York added that to ensure the safety of all, the lights will be showcased via its online channels.