MORE than £12,000 needs to be spent on the Christmas illuminations in Malton and Norton, councillors have been told.

In particular, Malton Town Council heard, the displays across the town centre shopping streets need replacing, but the bill is expected to be £12,400, said Coun Denys Townsend.

In recent years the two councils have each given £2,500 and the Community Interest Company a further £1,000.

Coun Townsend said the Norton and Malton Christmas Lights organisation was urging local businesses to give financial support because £1,500 alone was needed for new bulbs for the displays. "There has not been much fund raising done in the past," he added.

Coun David Lloyd-Williams said the council should increase their contributions, and suggested £4,000 each. Norton council was keen to see the lighting displays return to the County Bridge, a key focal point. "It is in the interests of both our towns to support the lighting displays."

He was supported by Coun Paul Emberley who said the illumination were an investment because they attracted Christmas shoppers, and he wanted to see the High Street name shops contribute.

Town Clerk, Mike Skehan, said it was "disappointing" that Ryedale District Council could not provide funding from business rates. The town councils only received their precepts from households, not businesses. "RDC should return some of the business rates to our councils," he added.

The council is to be recommended at its next meeting to increase its contribution from £2,500 to £4,000 for the displays this year.