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Christmas is saved with new lights deal
8:50am Friday 2nd November 2012 in Ledbury
“HARD bargaining” by the town council has halved the hire price of Ledbury’s Christmas lights after concerns were raised over rising costs.
And the lights going up will be brighter than the old ones, according to the town council, which is responsible for putting on the festive display.
For several years the council had hired in lights at a cost of more than £3,000 a year.
In 2011, the town council had to push hard for business sponsorship to help pay for the lights display, after some town councillors remarked over the rising costs.
At the time, Councillor Phil Bettington had challenged those concerned councillors asking whether they “ought to consider having no lights at all in future, and saving £15,000?”
He had further pointed out that the contract was going to be re-negotiated.
And it is following that renegotiation that the hire price was halved to £1,424, with more Ledbury streets also now set to benefit from the brighter displays.
Town clerk Karen Mitchell said: “We did a bit of hard bargaining, and this was the outcome. There will be new lights this year, with LED icicle lights in The Homend, and new motifs in Bye Street and the High Street.”
These will have the theme of stars and swirls and they will be mounted on town buildings, with at least four large new ones sited in the High Street.
Landmark buildings such as the Market House will be picked out as usual in white lights, the town council’s preferred theme, and Ledbury people will be able to see the results at the grand switch-on on Saturday November 24, at 4.30pm.
The town council is in talks with a celebrity to throw the switch on the steps of the Market House.
But if this does not happen, the festive duty will be undertaken by Ledbury’s Mayor and the Carnival Princess.
Mrs Mitchell is hopeful that a town Christmas tree will be in place for the big day.
In previous years, the council has opted for an artificial tree, at a hiring cost of a few hundred pounds.
But this year councillors have opted for a real tree.
Before it is set in place, the large tub to support it will need to be inspected by a blacksmith.
Mrs Mitchell said: “We hope to have it all done by the switch on.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
Santa will arrive by sleigh on the day at 1pm.
He will hand out presents in the panelled room of the Ledbury Town Council offices, his grotto for the afternoon.
Other attractions will include performances in the High Street by the Ledbury Community Brass Band and carols after the switch-on by the Ledbury Community Choir.
There will also be festive stalls and activities in the Royal British Legion Club, in Church Street.