Boroughs set out to outshine each other

Croydon Christmas Lights

Hackney is spending more than any other borough along the line in the competition for a brighter festive season.

Tower Hamlets has spent “a modest £50,000” on festive lights this year, compared to Hackney council, which has set aside £165,000 for 2011 festival lights.

Hackney’s festive lights cover the different multicultural festivities, including Diwali, Eid, and Christmas, through to Chinese New Year at the beginning of February.

A Hackney council spokesperson said: “They are paid for out of the Council’s overall funding for street lighting, and are sourced from numerous suppliers by our contract partners who installs them. The cost can vary depending on the work involved – trees in the Town Hall Square have their lights rewrapped every two years to allow for growth – and is currently under review.”

Tower Hamlets council spokeswoman said: “Christmas is a special time of year and festive lights and celebrations are an important part of showcasing the fantastic sights for residents and visitors to enjoy in Tower Hamlets.”

Meanwhile, Lewisham council has invested £30,000 on new Christmas lights this year. The council told Eastlondonlines: “They were bought from a local company. The previous Christmas lights lasted over 10 years but these new ones are more robust and easier to store so they should last longer.”

Croydon council is the only one delegating this expenditure to around 600 Town Centre businesses, which are represented by Croydon Business Improvement District (BID). According to its 2010-11 annual report, £150,672 is spent on ‘festival and events’. They couldn’t say exactly how much of that went on the Christmas season.

Gill Murphy, Business Engagement Manager at Croydon BID, said: “For each of the last five years, the Town Centre’s Christmas lights scheme has been delivered and entirely funded by the BID. Our company represents and is funded by almost 600 Town Centre businesses all of whom pay an annual levy to the BID which helps to fund the wide range of projects and services we deliver to improve Croydon Town Centre.”

The company provided and organised the Town Centre’s spectacular Christmas lights display and switch-on, which attracted large crowds into the Town Centre last month.

Maria Chapman-Beer, Interim Chief Executive of Croydon BID, said: “There will be more events in the weeks to come which we hope will ensure this is Croydon’s best Christmas ever.”

Research by Erika Grinaveckyte


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