SOUTHAMPTON'S Christmas lights scheme is being extended to bring festive cheer to another two of the city's shopping centres.

Bitterne Park Triangle and Lordshill District Centre will be festooned with lights and decorations as the busiest shopping period of the year moves into top gear.

It comes after the successful introduction of Christmas lights last year in Woolston, Shirley, Bitterne and Portswood, which will all be lit up again this year.

Daily Echo:

The new lights at Bitterne Park Triangle and Woolston will be switched on next weekend.

A city council spokesman said it realised the importance of the Christmas period to traders and was keen to attract visitors to retail locations across the city by providing even more lights and decorations than last year.

This year six shopping centres will be ablaze with Christmas colour - Bitterne Precinct, Bitterne Park Triangle, Shirley High Street, Portswood and Lordshill District Centre.

The Woolston, Shirley and Portswood lights will be switched on this weekend.

Satvir Kaur, the city council's cabinet member for homes and culture, said Southampton's "unique and thriving Christmas offer", which included ice skating and a flying Santa, attracted more than a million visitors.

But she added: "It's important that local communities and district high streets don’t miss out.

"I’m looking forward to the light switch-on events happening on both sides of the city this weekend, bringing people together, creating a sense of belonging and pride, while helping businesses in the area.

Daily Echo:

"Thank you to organisations such as Bitterne Parish Church and St James Park, along with local traders, for making these events so special and enhancing what we can offer.”

The city centre lights were switched earlier this month.

A city council spokesman said: "This year additional lights in the city centre have been provided by Go! Southampton to complement the council’s scheme. All the lights are animated, including twinkling star-themed motifs on lampposts, lights in trees and a glittering Christmas tree in Guildhall Square.

"The Christmas Market has also returned for another year, which features the incredible unique flying Santa who has returned to the skies above Southampton’s city centre precinct."