Calls to back more Christmas lights for Chichester

Peter Evans at the switching on of Chichester's Christmas light, late night shopping and firework display, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171126-115717008
Peter Evans at the switching on of Chichester's Christmas light, late night shopping and firework display, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171126-115717008

A funding bid to extend Chichester’s Christmas lights this year should be supported, according to the city’s former mayor.

Chichester BID approached the city council about a £20,000 contribution towards extra decorations in the side streets for the festive period.

DM17113739a.jpg Switching on of Chichester's Christmas light, late night shopping and firework display, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171124-094958008

DM17113739a.jpg Switching on of Chichester's Christmas light, late night shopping and firework display, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171124-094958008

The request was discussed earlier this month by members of the finance committee, who recommended the council should not contribute.

This recommendation was backed by Chichester city councillors last Wednesday.

Afterwards Peter Evans, who was mayor of Chichester in 2017/18, spoke against the decision.

He said: “We need to try and make Chichester attractive to retailers and people coming into the city to spend money.”

This was especially important given the looming closure of the city’s House of Fraser store and the fact the customary fireworks display over the cathedral will no longer take place.

Instead the BID is looking at creating a light show on buildings in the city centre

Since the city council had described having a ‘healthy surplus’ once the extra lights were purchased their storage, maintenance and installation could be done ‘relatively cheaply’.

According to the finance committee minutes said: “The town clerk reminded the committee of the past investment by the city council both regarding the Christmas lights and infrastructure and why the council had not felt obliged to make additional contributions since the formation of BID and the introduction of the BID levy.”

But Mr Evans described how the BID ‘does an awful lot in the city and can’t do everything’.

He added: “It would be good to get involved and give Chichester a great Christmas experience.”

Colin Hicks, chairman of Chichester BID, described how the request was to see if the council had any budget leeway to help out and said he understood the decision.

He said they would continue close partnership working with the council, including on the city rangers project.