Chichester’s planning to be all lit up for Christmas

SUMMER may just be coming to an end but plans for this year’s city-centre Christmas lights have already been revealed.

The Chichester City Partnership this week unveiled its illumination plans – with additional streets being decorated for the first time.

After a year out of public view in 2010, and an Observer-backed campaign to fund the lights in 2011, this year’s lights look set to be bigger and better.

For the first time, Christmas lights will extend to Crane Street, Cooper Street, St Martin’s and Little London and, in partnership with Hambrook Developments, lights are being restrung for the cathedral courtyard.

Lights will extend from the Cross, along West Street – filling in previous gaps in the middle of the street – along South Street to the railway line, up North Street as far as Northgate and along East Street as far as Eastgate Square.

This year will also include St Pancras and The Hornet.

For ten years, the city council managed the lights but now the Business Improvement District is in place they come under the remit of the Chichester City Centre Partnership.

Andrew Finnamore, chairman of the partnership, said: “Three years ago, Chichester was voted by Sky Travel as the third-best Christmas shopping destination in the UK and it’s our ambition to achieve at least that again 
this year.

“With admin support for this year being provided by the city council, we have yet another example of partnership working – all for the benefit of businesses in Chichester city centre.”

During preparation for the Business Improvement District last year, the lights were named as a key priority for voters in the 
city centre.

Residents and businesses felt it would encourage seasonal shoppers and Mr Finnamore said the partnership was determined to deliver on this.

It has now entered into a five-year agreement with Gala Lights to supply the illuminations.

The partnership is also asking residents and businesses to contact them with feedback on the lights so they can build on the project in future years.

The Christmas lights switch-on will take place on Saturday, November 24, with street entertainment, window competitions and a yet-to-be-revealed grand finale.

The partnership is also hoping to make November 24 a late-night shopping event.