Christmas parade scrapped

X Factor's Jonjo Kerr at Chorley Christmas Lights switch on

X Factor's Jonjo Kerr at Chorley Christmas Lights switch on

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Chorley’S town centre Christmas parade is being scrapped this year.

The tradition has been dropped as council bosses seek to provide more attractions to tempt folk to stay in the town centre longer.

In the past, the parade – a prelude to the Christmas lights switch-on – has attracted hundreds of people, many of them children, with home-made banners and lanterns.

At one time it started at the Big Lamp at Pall Mall.

But last year the parade set off from the St George’s Church, St George’s Street – much nearer the town centre – and travelled along Chapel Street, New Market Street, Market Place, Cleveland Street and Market Street.

Malcolm Allen, of Malcolm’s Musicland, Chapel Street, Chorley, who is chairman of Chorley Traders’ Alliance, said: “The parade in recent years has dwindled.

“Last year, what, with the cutbacks by the police, it started off at St George’s Church.

“It’s getting people into the parade.

“I don’t think people are interested.

“Probably give it a rest for a couple of years and see if there’s any interest in a couple of years’ time.”

He added: “Traders would be more inclined to have more going on on the Saturdays to keep people in the town.

“We can’t always win on late-night shopping because some of the shops are not suitable for late night shopping – if you take the butcher and baker really which we have quite a lot of.”

Chorley Council’s overview and scrutiny committee meets on Monday night when a report on tourism and promoting Chorley will go before councillors.

The council’s executive has responded to a range of

findings and recommendations from councillors.

As regards Christmas civic celebrations in the town this year, the executive says: “Initial plans for the Christmas lights switch-on have been developed.

“These have been discussed with the town centre team and traders have been encouraged to identify ways in which they could support the event.

“Following feedback and discussion, the parade element of the event will be replaced this year with more attractions in the town centre, which will encourage families to visit and stay in the town over a longer period.”

Coun Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said: “We always aim to put on a fantastic event for people to enjoy and to mark the start of the Christmas countdown in Chorley, and this year will be no exception.

“In previous years we have had a parade, but the numbers of people taking part, and the interest in it, have dwindled in recent times, so it was decided at the last meeting of the Town Team not to do the parade this year.

“However, we do intend to put on more family fun activities in the town centre in the run up to Christmas and that’s what we are now working on.”

The 2011 Christmas celebrations were said by the council to be one of the best yet.

Thousands of people packed into Chorley town centre for the lights switch-on celebration.

More than 4,000 people screamed with delight when local lad and X Factor finalist, Jonjo Kerr and Coronation Street heartthrob Jason Grimshaw, played by Ryan Thomas, flicked the big switch.

They were joined by Chorley Council Leader, Coun Peter Goldsworthy, the Mayor of Chorley, Coun Pat Case, and Father Christmas on the stage.

This year’s Christmas lights switch-on in Chorley will take place on Thursday, November 22.