VOTE: Would £35k on floodlighting for the city council’s offices be a good use of taxpayers’ money?

A row has erupted between Chichester city councillors over a ‘self-indulgent’ plan to spend £35,000 illuminating their offices.

Conservative party members on the city council opposed the idea, but were outvoted 11-7 by Liberal Democrat councillors who felt it would encourage more people into the city centre in the evenings.

Tory cllr Tony Dignum said the decision sent the wrong message to the community at a time of financial hardship. Instead he wanted the money to be spent building a community hall for the Whyke estate.

“We are not saying never, but this is not the right time,” he said. “It sends the wrong message to the community.

“Is lighting the council chamber really a high priority?”

But chairman of the finance committee Richard Plowman said steps needed to be taken to support the city’s main employment of tourism by making the city attractive in the evenings.

“It would help encourage more people into the city, particularly in the evening,” he said.

“This is a good time to do it from our point of view, we have to support the traders and restaurants in Chichester.

“We are hoping it will be the start of illuminating some of the main historical buildings in Chichester.”

Seven conservative councillors signed a letter distancing themselves from the decision. They are Peter Budge, Pam and Tony Dignum, Peter Evans, Derek James, and Barbara Rees.

The Council House, in North Street has been in the past lit up, but the floodlights fell into disrepair.