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Exeter high street faces Christmas with no lights

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 16, 2012

exetercitycentre
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Exeter High Street is again threatened with having no Christmas lights.

City council leader Pete Edwards is adamant that it cannot fund them – and says the cost must fall on the retailers.

As he did last year, Mr Edwards is to write to all High Street retailers, asking them to contribute to the lights. He will tell them that unless they pledge money for the lights by August, Exeter will have to do without them.

Mr Edwards said: "The city council can't afford to pay for the lights – we have had to make £2 million in cuts this year. I am writing to all the High Street shops this month asking them to send in their money by August, and if they don't there will be no Christmas lights."

Richard Ball, Exeter's assistant director of economy, said: "In the past we have always co-ordinated and organised the lights, but over the years contributions from the retailers have dwindled. The city council has no money in the budget to pay for this year's Christmas lights in the High Street."

The Christmas lights were only saved last year after a campaign led by the city council and city centre manager John Harvey.

Even if the High Street remains devoid of festive lights, bosses at Princesshay and the Guildhall Shopping Centre have pledged to continue with their displays.

Guildhall centre manager Andrew McNeilly said: "We have a limited budget, but we have invested it over the last five years in an ever-growing display. It utilises the latest technology so is very reliable and the cost of maintaining it is reduced.

"We will be going ahead with our own lighting-up ceremony, so if the High Street is dark and gloomy we won't be."

Wayne Pearce, centre director of Princesshay, said: "We will, as usual, have a Christmas lighting scheme this year. The scheme is wholly funded by Princesshay retailers and is a key element of our Christmas events calendar."

Read more from Exeter Express and Echo

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  • kippax21  |  June 17 2012, 7:52PM

    Oh well, Trafford centre for me again this year !!

    |   1
  • rambo1917  |  June 17 2012, 12:58PM

    Well i never bother to shop at all in Exeter now, I use the internet for all my shopping. It's cheaper for me to select all my groceries on-line and pay a small delivery charge. I get my groceries picked and packed for me and then delivered at a time convenient to me. And as for clothes etc i can order them, try them on and return them free of charge, so why do i need to go into town and pay exhorbitant parking charges, get spoken to as if i was an inconvienience and then get ripped off with high prices. Typical example:- New CD price in City £13.64. Same CD on-line:- £4-87 also brand new and unopened. And they wonder why the High Street is closing down.

    |   7
  • Stuboy13  |  June 17 2012, 11:00AM

    If they can't afford a few strings of lights then may I put forward a suggestion: How about stringing up some of the 'occupy' protestors across the High Street, we could even splash out on a few LED cycle lights to brighten them up.

    |   2
  • czarchasm  |  June 16 2012, 7:29PM

    The picture with this story is a reminder of how nice High Street looked before the Council insisted on "improving" it with all that souless and soul-destroying slate grey.

    |   7
  • Exeter Planning  |  June 16 2012, 6:03PM

    ECC are right. Christmas lights in the High Street are not an essential public service to be provided by the local authority. It's about SHOPPING, i.e. a commercial enterprise and so the private sector should pay for it.

    |   9
  • becci69  |  June 16 2012, 1:32PM

    Why does everything Exeter City Council touch feel so half-assed? Personally speaking I rarely go in to the city centre any more due to it's inaccessibility for my disabled partner. St Thomas Retailers association have got it together well over the last couple of years to make this end of town look pretty over the christmas period, many other areas in the city also get together to provide decorations but are being let down by our city centre & council. What are the extortionate business rates & parking charges being spent on?

    |   11
  • 2ladybugs  |  June 16 2012, 10:56AM

    So retailers pay excruciating rates for their premises and are then expected to dish out even more money for fripperies which are used for a few weeks of the year. The sad reality is that people are either shopping out of town or on-line and the retail trades in towns are struggling.

    |   9
  • Yesboy1  |  June 16 2012, 10:53AM

    the high street is a no go area for most- due to feeling like walking in a bus lane

    |   18
  • CheapUKHolidays  |  June 16 2012, 10:15AM

    De Ja Vu.

    |   6

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