IT won’t just be jingle bells this Christmas in Winchester but jingling cash tills for shopkeepers, city councillors heard last night.

The festive season is set to be an economic bonanza, a senior councillor said.

Cllr Rob Humby, deputy leader of the city council, said the city centre was fighting back against the threat from internet shopping.

He said a key factor has been the ice rink and Christmas market at the cathedral.

Cllr Humby told the meeting of Council last night: “The ice rink and market have seen a steady growth in numbers, with around 40,000 skaters and up to 350,000 market shoppers anticipated in 2012, thanks to an extended run of the market.

“This growth has a direct impact on footfall in the city centre and translates into custom for not only shops but eateries, visitor attractions, hotels, the theatre and local B&Bs.”

Cllr Humby, portfolio holder for strategic planning and economic development, added that attractions outside the city such as Marwell Wildlife and the Watercress Line also benefit “making not just for jingle bells but also jingling tills right across the Winchester district.”