Permanent illuminations are going up in Ilkley town centre to add year-round sparkle.

Thousands of white lights have already been put up in trees on central shopping street The Grove, in an Ilkley Parish Council-led initiative to brighten up the town centre.

The lights are being switched on for the first time to coincide with this month’s Ilkley Summer Festival, but the illuminations are to be an all-year attraction, and add to the festive feel of Ilkley’s traditional Christmas lights this winter.

Ilkley parish councillor Rory Marshall, the council’s new project manager for Ilkley Christmas Lights, devised the scheme to boost the appeal of the town centre. He said: “The intention has been to complete work in time for the festival and to switch the lights on every evening thereafter – a touch of sparkle in the summer and especially welcome during the dark and rainy months.

“At Christmas the lights will provide the perfect backdrop to the additional festive lighting to create a more substantial looking display.”

The project has been made possible by the council opting to source its own festive lights and installation contractors, said Coun Marshall, making extensive savings.

It also secured sponsorship from Ilkley business The Grove Restaurant to light up the largest tree on The Grove.

The low-maintenance LED lights, which mimic traditional “warm white” fairy lights are expected to last around six years, and are expected to cost the local council as little as £50 a year.

“It was a priority of mine for the display look as traditional as possible to compliment the heritage of Ilkley rather than the contentious blue lights which have been a bugbear of many in recent years,” said Coun Marshall.

The council is now inviting businesses on Brook Street and Station Road to consider sponsoring more lights in trees, illuminating still more of the town centre.