'˜Soft launch' for Christmas lights to replace switch on

There will be no Christmas lights switch on event this year as it does not lead to extra revenue for businesses, Chichester BID has confirmed.

Wednesday, 12th September 2018, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th September 2018, 5:03 pm
DM17113555a.jpg Switching on of Chichester's Christmas light, late night shopping and firework display, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171124-094851008

Instead, the money from the £2,500 fireworks display will be used to fund street entertainment, late-night shopping and more Christmas lights in the city centre.

It follows the announcement last year that 2017’s event would have the last fireworks display above the cathedral, where roof repair works are due to continue for the next four and a half years.

The September newsletter from the BID explained: “Chichester BID will not be hosting or organising the official Christmas lights switch on event this year.

“This event involves a huge amount of co-ordination and funding for what is essentially a two to three-hour event (after business hours) on one night of the year, with very little conversion at the tills.”

Member services manager for the BID, Jeanette Hockley added that the whole BID budget for the event would be used for the replacement festivities and it was about providing value to levy payers.

“It’s the businesses that are paying for the Christmas lights, it’s not the council or the Rotary.”

Instead of performances on the night by community groups, the BID is planning a ‘soft launch’ of lights, starting with side streets from October, to the main streets from late November.

Day and evening street performances are planned from Thursdays to Sundays from December 1.

Decorations will include ‘3D chandeliers’ across streets, motif wall mounts, 3D stars and spheres and ‘animated boas’ on trees.

Hundreds of people turned out to last year’s lights switch on event but concerns were raised about overcrowding, particularly when an ambulance struggled to attend an incident near the Cross. Do you suppport the ideas? Email [email protected]