REVEALED: The cost of lighting up our streets for ChristmasÂ

THOUSANDS of people across the Portsmouth area took delight in seeing Christmas lights switched on in their towns and high streets this festive season.

Friday, 21st December 2018, 2:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:37 am
31,000: Fireworks and fake snow at the Gosport lights switch-on this year. Picture: Keith Woodland

Some switch-ons have become must-see events with celebrities and local figures attending.

Extra sparkle was also added to Portsmouth this year with new lights installed in Allaway Avenue, Havant Road, Tangier Road, Fawcett Road, Winter Road and Copnor Road, on top of the ones that are in Southsea, the city centre and Cosham.

For Portsmouth City Council's head of economic development, Councillor Ben Dowling, Christmas lights are key to both local communities and businesses. 'The lights are a really important part of how the city celebrates the festive season,' he said.

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49,665: Hundreds turned out to see the Fareham Christmas lights switch-on this year. Picture Ian Hargreaves (181125-1_fareham)

'They are also an important mechanism for supporting local businesses in our high street and enabling economic growth in the city.

'Christmas lights provide an opportunity for communities to come together to celebrate the season and get into the festive spirit.'

But what was the cost of lighting up the streets this Christmas?

Portsmouth City Council spent the most amount of money compared to nearby local authorities with an annual budget for Christmas lights of £70,500. The lights were bought by and belong to the council and an additional £2,000 was also put aside for contingencies.

70,500: The switch was flicked on Christmas lights in Commercial Road, Portsmouth. From left, Portsmouth FC players Ronan Curtis and Craig MacGillivray, panto stars Jake Quickenden and Jack Edwards, Father Christmas and The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Lee Mason. Picture:Sarah Standing (180845-2001)

This is significantly higher than last year's budget of £45,000 due to the extra lights across the city.

When it came to Christmas lights, Gosport Borough Council took a different approach.

This year it spent £31,000 on a contract for the the supply, installation and taking down of hired decorations.

In contrast Fareham Borough Council recently invested in a new festive lighting scheme, having last bought lights seven years ago.

The cost of the new scheme, which is intended to last the council at least five years, was £49,665, or £9,933 a year.

Of the authorities in the area, Havant Borough Council spent the least on Christmas lights.

This year the cost for erecting and dismantling the Christmas lights in Havant, Leigh Park and Hayling Island was £3,900. The battery-operated lights used were purchased last year for £1,983.80.

The council also contributed £500 towards lights in Waterlooville and Emsworth, which are mainly funded by the Waterlooville Events Team and the Emsworth Business Association.