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Ipswich Christmas lights switch-on moved to Thursday, November 19 to allow for late-night shopping

PUBLISHED: 09:34 25 September 2015 | UPDATED: 09:34 25 September 2015

Crowds of people gathered for festivities and entertainment  in the Cornhill for the Ipswich Christmas lights switch on.

Crowds of people gathered for festivities and entertainment in the Cornhill for the Ipswich Christmas lights switch on.

Archant

Ipswich is to have a spectacular Christmas lights switch-on, almost certainly in the middle of November.

Father Christmas dances in the rain during the Ipswich christmas light switch on last year. Photograph Simon ParkerFather Christmas dances in the rain during the Ipswich christmas light switch on last year. Photograph Simon Parker

Final details of the plans for this year’s festive shopping season are expected to be settled at a meeting of borough officers early next week – but it is thought likely that the lights will be switched during the first late-night shopping evening on Thursday, November 19.

The switch-on is being moved from a Sunday because of retailers’ reluctance to take part in an event on that day.

Strict Sunday shopping rules mean that they have to shut by 4.30 or 5pm – making it impossible for them to benefit from extra potential customers in the early evening.

The lights will be switched on well before the town plays host to a Christmas Market from Friday December 11 to Sunday December 13.

The events are being organised by the borough council and are being confirmed in good time after last year’s confusion when there was originally not going to be any formal light switch-on.

Thursday evenings were the traditional time for the lights to be switched on until the ceremony was moved to Sunday afternoons a few years ago.

However retailers, who are in many cases frustrated by the Sunday trading laws, are known to prefer Sunday events to be held during the day which is when their stores are allowed to be open.

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said: “I am please the borough is supporting the civic life of Ipswich by switching on the lights – which are a partnership between the council and the retailers of the town – to launch the Christmas season.

“I am sure the news will be welcomed by all those who will be able to enjoy a number of events that are being planned for the town as has happened in previous years.”


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