‘More bang for our bucks’

The Exmouth Christmas Cracker 2012. The Exmouth Christmas lights which were switched on at the weeke

The Exmouth Christmas Cracker 2012. The Exmouth Christmas lights which were switched on at the weekend. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 9309-49-12AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

The Christmas lights could have ‘more bang’ this year if Exmouth joins forces with Sidmouth.

A single three-year contract, worth up to around £80,000, could be on the cards if the two towns pool their resources.

Exmouth was plunged into darkness in Christmas 2011 for the first time in living memory when the town council and traders could not raise enough cash for the annual displays.

The displays traditionally cover The Strand, Exeter Road and other parts of the town centre.

So last year a group of residents, led by Laura Freeman, of Moorfield Road, vowed that it should never happen again and set up Exmouth Christmas Lights (ECL) to raise the cash needed.

A town hall working party, headed by Councillor Pauline Stott, was set up and at the general purposes meeting on Monday, she raised the idea of the two towns joining forces.

She said “If we went in with Sidmouth in a joint project the Christmas lights could be bigger and better.”

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The suggestion was immediately backed by the rest of the council and Exmouth town clerk Colin Poole confirmed that he had chatted to his Sidmouth counterpart Chris Holland.

He said: “We are investigating the possibility.

“We would get the price down and split the load in terms of contracts

“They would not be vastly different contract sizes.”

After the meeting, Mr Poole said that Exmouth was looking at around £40,000 of lights over three years while Sidmouth around £30,000 and a contractor could be in place by June.

“Savings would be likely, but it’s more likely that we would opt to get more bang for our bucks,” he said.

“It’s an issue of logistics; the cost of the first fairy light is huge, and then the cost of every fairy light after that is incremental.

“So, instead of two councils hiring two companies with two cherry pickers, two lorries over two three-day periods, one could be hired over the course of say five days.”