LEIGH Lights are to cover more of the town this year, but there will be no switchon ceremony.

Town councillors voted on Tuesday to extend the coverage of the Christmas lights further along Leigh Road, from the previous boundary of Woodfield Park Road to Fernleigh Road, covering all businesses on the street.

Despite comments from businesses beyond the boundary that they felt left out from the festivities, efforts to extend the lights in previous years had been slowed by the fact the town council’s authority ends at Woodfield Park Road.

The extension will cost £2,155, though the cost will be partly offset by the council choosing to have no official switch-on ceremony this year, a decision councillor Carole Mulroney said was partly motivated by concerns over safety.

She said: “In previous years, we’ve had a switch-on by the triangle at St Clement’s church and it causes major problems for pedestrians and, even when we’ve not had celebrity guests, it’s caused a pinch-point effect, which can be really quite frightening.

“We’ve been working with the police on that because it’s been a concern for them.

“We also feel that, if the lights are on when people arrive, they’re walking into a welcoming atmosphere rather than a dark and gloomy environment and this will also be of benefit to the traders.”

As a result of the changes, the annual parade which has traditionally preceded the switch-on will start in the opposite direction at 6.30pm on November 28, from the junction of Leigh Road and Kings Road, along Leigh Road and Broadway before finishing at Broadway West.

During the meeting, Councillor Donald Fraser said the lights would be switched on at 5pm.