Plan to work together to secure Xmas lights

PUBLISHED: 09:34 27 October 2015 | UPDATED: 09:34 27 October 2015

Strand Gardens at Christmas. Ref exe 4393-52-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Strand Gardens at Christmas. Ref exe 4393-52-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Archant

Exmouth could be left without any town centre Christmas lights next year, if a proposed funding bid does not go ahead, a councillor has warned.

Exmouth Town Council is considering joining forces with other councils to buy lights, using Parishes Together funding.

The council is currently in the final year of a three-year, £12,000-a-year contract for lights, for which some funding has come from the Exmouth Christmas Lights fundraising group.

However, Councillor Pauline Stott told the town council’s finance committee this week that the group had collapsed, and the Parishes Together bid could therefore be the only hope.

She said: “At the moment, it looks like we will be paying for all of the lights this year, because I think the Exmouth Christmas Lights working party has collapsed, so it’s a case of if we don’t do this, then I can’t see Exmouth having any Christmas lights.”

Town clerk Lisa Bowman told councillors that the new proposal would see Exmouth and other towns buying lights between them, which could then be swapped around each year, bringing more variety to each town’s displays.

She said that so far Sidmouth and Honiton seemed to be on board, with Budleigh Salterton also considering the idea.

Mrs Bowman said: “Among the parishes, we’re all at a point where we could do with investing some money in Christmas lights.

“At the moment, we are in a three-year contract with our lights, £12,000 a year, and we are stuck with the same lights for a three-year period.

“If we were cute, we could potentially buy some lights that are compatible with the participating towns and parishes that we could switch out on a year-to-year basis.”

Mrs Bowman said she would carry out more research and come back to the council if the idea seemed worth pursuing, which councillors supported.

Cllr Stott said: “If we’ve got some lights that we actually own, and we can swap them round, I think it’s a brilliant idea.”

Money from the Parishes Together Fund is allocated by Devon County Council and East Devon District Council, for parishes to collaborate on community projects.

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