Organisers address ‘crushing’ claims at Falkirk Christmas lights switch-on event

Crowds gathered in High Street, Falkirk to watch the town's Christmas lights being switched on. Picture: Scott Louden
Crowds gathered in High Street, Falkirk to watch the town's Christmas lights being switched on. Picture: Scott Louden

Organisers of Falkirk’s Christmas lights switch-on have moved to address overcrowding concerns raised in the aftermath of the event.

The switch-on in High Street last Sunday was well-attended, with residents and visitors all eager to take the chance to watch the live entertainment provided by The Big Band Theory, The Choir Factory and the Big Bad Wolf Theatre Company among others.

However, worries over children being crammed into small areas and a lack of disabled access were flagged up online following the event.

One attendee wrote on Facebook: “People being pushed from all areas, kids terrified. Scared of a potential crush incident and stewards saying nought they could do.”

Another posted: “We had a good time although we were really disappointed at the lack of organisation for disabled access.

“I have no issue, and I am 100 per cent behind disabled access and viewing etc, but all the kids that had managed to get to the front then couldn’t see because everyone in a wheelchair had been put right in front of them, which wasn’t really the issue, the family members or carers or anyone who was with them was then standing right in front of the kids.

“Asking kids to come round to dance and then try and fight their way in and out of the crowds was so dangerous.”

Another Facebook user added: “It was a disgrace. Security was a waste of time and money as they did nothing. It was supposed to be for children but they were getting crushed and scared.”

Falkirk Delivers, the town’s Business Improvement District (BID), is responsible for overseeing the switch-on.

While those in command were “concerned” to hear of such claims, the BID insists all of its events are carefully organised and that this year’s first festive celebration passed without any reported incidents.

Alex Fleming, BID manager, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people out in town on Sunday, enjoying the show before the Christmas lights switch-on this year.

“A lot of careful planning goes into making this one of the busiest events in the area’s calendar.

“We always consult on public safety and implement any advice received.

“On Sunday, as well as the BID team, we had event security staff, medical support and treatment space provided by our Safebase team as well as our local community policing team.

“None of these groups reported any issues in the crowd at the time so it is of the utmost concern to hear of a situation.

“We always have a debrief with our public safety partners after these events and this will clearly be discussed and we will take advice on any safety implementations required.

“The Christmas lights switch-on event has grown significantly in recent years and we want our town centre to be a safe and vibrant area for all to enjoy.”

Police in Falkirk also confirmed no issues were reported to officers during the Christmas lights switch-on.