Wisbech needs wow factor Christmas lights costing £30,000, says councillor

Wisbech Christmas Lights Switch on 2013. Picture: Steve Williams. Wisbech Christmas Lights Switch on 2013. Picture: Steve Williams.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
4:03 PM

Giving Wisbech the wow factor with a new set of Christmas lights costing £30,000 is a great idea but one that needs more time to plan it properly, according to two councillors.

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Wisbech Christmas Lights Switch on 2013. Picture: Steve Williams.Wisbech Christmas Lights Switch on 2013. Picture: Steve Williams.

The suggestion to brighten up the town with a new LED lighting system is being suggested by councillor Steve Tierney who thinks £20-£30,000 of reserve budgets should be used for the scheme.

Councillor David Wheeler has welcomed the suggestion saying a wow factor lighting system can help boost the economy by bringing in shoppers and visitors on switch on day.

But councillors Michael and Virgina Bucknor and Cllr Dave Patrick think they should only be bought following a community-based fund raising drive similar to that in March and Chatteris or the business forum in Whittlesey.

In a report to be discussed next week Cllr Tierney said: “Each year the people of Wisbech ask that we invest in our Christmas lights because they believe the town deserves better than we currently have.

Wisbech Christmas Lights Switch on 2013. Picture: Steve Williams.Wisbech Christmas Lights Switch on 2013. Picture: Steve Williams.

He suggested funds be taken from the reserves budget so that the scheme did not affect this year’s financial plan.

“I think the town need a real wow factor,” he said.

“We have put on a great switch on show, but the show is marred by the limited potential our present lights have.

Cllr Virgina Bucknor said they liked the idea in principle but did not feel it should be rushed in at the last minute.

“People are getting cut backs in their wages in a poor economic downturn. The last thing we should do is use reserve budgets for lights, it should come from a community fund raising drive,” she said.

Cllr Dave Patrick said: “Spending that much public money to prettify the town for two weeks is wrong.

“The money should be spent on a needy cause and the lights should be bought following properly organised fund raising.”

Cllr Wheeler said: “New rules and regulations mean we need LED lights. The prices are phenomenal. The economic benefit is that it bring shoppers into town.”

Cllr Robert McClaren said: “Too many people are spending vast amounts of money at the drop of a hat.”

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