Christmas lights in Norwich set for £300,000 investment in effort to create “magical” festive feel

The Christmas lights in Norwich city centre glisten on the wet pavements as Christmas day 2012 approaches. 
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY The Christmas lights in Norwich city centre glisten on the wet pavements as Christmas day 2012 approaches. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
1:47 PM

Christmas cheer and festive feeling could reach new heights in Norwich after a £300,000 overhaul of the city’s Christmas lights were announced.

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The Christmas lights outside Norwich City Hall glisten on the wet pavements as Christmas day 2012 approaches.
 PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYThe Christmas lights outside Norwich City Hall glisten on the wet pavements as Christmas day 2012 approaches. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) and Norwich City Council will invest £300,000 over the next three years as part of a joint venture to refresh the city centre’s Christmas colours.

The BID and city council have also been working closely with the likes of John Lewis, Jarrolds, The Forum, Norwich Castle and the city’s two shopping malls to try and make the most of their lighting for the wider good of the city. The joint venture will see a recognisable theme, based around a star motif, running through the city’s streets.

This will stretch from Timberhill, along Castle Street, London Street, Gentlemans Walk, Gaol Hill and up to Lower Goat Lane.

The lights will be turned on at an event on the evening of Thursday, November 21, which will see a candlelit procession through the city centre and Father Christmas and his friends turning on the lights.

Trees in Gentlemans Walk, Norwich adorned with Christmas lights on the night of the big switch-on in 2011 .Photo: Steve Adams.Trees in Gentlemans Walk, Norwich adorned with Christmas lights on the night of the big switch-on in 2011 .Photo: Steve Adams.

It represents a change in direction for the city council, which decided to reduce the amount of Christmas lighting in the city for last year’s festive period, to save £20,000.

The city council needed to save £4.6m in 2012/13 overall so asked the public, through its Your Services, Your Say consultation during 2011, to help decide how to shave just over £600,000 from its budget.

More than 1,500 people responded and ranked a list of services in order of importance to them, which the council used to decide where to wield the axe. Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “Although nowhere is immune to the effects of the financial crisis, Norwich has managed to weather it well.

“Part of this is down to the vibrancy of our city centre so it’s important that we maintain this through working with our partners and investing in Norwich together.

Norwich Christmas Lights switch-on and entertainment in 2012. City Hall all lit up. Photo: Steve Adams.Norwich Christmas Lights switch-on and entertainment in 2012. City Hall all lit up. Photo: Steve Adams.

“The new lighting scheme will make Norwich all the more magical this Christmas, which we hope will attract more visitors and provide a valuable boost to the local economy at the same time.”

The Norwich BID was established in November 2012 following a successful ballot, which saw 71pc by number and 91pc by rateable value vote yes for the BID, with a turnout of 30.7pc. The BID is raising £3m over five years through an annual one per cent levy on the rateable value of businesses over £15,000 within the BID area.

Stefan Gurney, executive director at Norwich BID, said: “We’ve seen over the last few years that the lights in the city have lacked something. The BID and the business community wanted to work with the city council and other partners to get the lights back to a place where they should be. Norwich should be a great place to come at Christmas and should be lovely with sparkly and shimmering lights across the city.

“There is always lots to do and events in the city, but sometimes walking on some streets there is not much lighting and it is not as Christmassy as it should be.

“It is one thing that businesses were quite passionate about when we set up the BID.

“Funding for local authorities has been cut and cut, so working sets of lights have been reducing year on year.

“This will be the first time there has been investment in the lights for a good three, maybe even five years.”

18 comments

  • "effort to create “magical” festive feel", which actually means they want people to feel warm and fuzzy from the lights when out in the city so they go and spend money. Actually what's really missing is six inches of snow in the weeks leading up to Christmas, that'll get everyone in the festive spirit.

    Report this comment

    Ar ya reet boi?

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • If England was to set up a team to enter in the World Moaning Contest they would only need to look at Norwich to fill the team. This lot could moan for England.

    Report this comment

    Rorping

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • I would much rather they spend my council tax that I pay on making the OLDER needy people, more comfortable in colder times, instead of brightening up the city when said people are to frail to perhaps go out to see what their council tax has been spent on!!!!!!!!

    Report this comment

    melalmighty

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • If the City Council wants to know how to spend it's tax revenue , it should ask those that pay it , not those in receipt of council tax benefit.

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • Wasn't it the same people that decided to have street performers in the City Centre on a Thursday night, to bring more people into the City for late night Shopping? Seems that idea came and went as now the City dies around 5-6PM !

    Report this comment

    che bramley

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • Fantastic news. I can't wait. I want more of my council tax money spent on Christmas. Please, please ... spend spend and spend. It is the best time of the year for me. it makes me so happy. Please do not ever describe it as a Winter Wonderland .. it is Chistmas. Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy new year too. I am so excited.

    Report this comment

    woodgreener

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • profligacy

    Report this comment

    martin wallis

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • Un-freakin-believable. Not NCC's actions (seems about par for them), Archant's angle!

    Report this comment

    Rogers of Norwich

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • what a waste of public money. cant they spend it on anything better that might last more than a few weeks, that will also benefit the city?

    Report this comment

    Mark Thompson

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • It has been the same thing very after year, what are they going to do get the MOD to buy a different coloured light bulb for them to use?

    Report this comment

    COLD

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • In the end its the council tax payer and the consumer who pays for this "iniciative"

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • What a waste of money what happened to help the elderly,disabled and children who have nothing.

    Report this comment

    sibs Wesley

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • There would be a more festive feel if council tenants without hot water and heating could have them repaired rather than wasting money on this, the council have got their priorities all wrong, the graffiti artists at Anglia square have more respect and concern for the city than the council, who care about nothing and no one.

    Report this comment

    inactive user

    Thursday, October 31, 2013

  • It's not just the blind leading the blind, but the blind leading the incompetent. Bid needs closing down now, just look at the crowds that rushed into Norwich to see their Thursday events, one could hardly move, for the open space, and the council needs an events team with much more initiative, lets get rid of them as well and start over again. Can it really we any worse?

    Report this comment

    COLD

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • Moan moan... grumble grumble...

    Report this comment

    Josh Helling

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • No concept, no idea, and no imagination, just an utter waste, time and time again.

    Report this comment

    COLD

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • Another idea thought up by people where the Lights are on, but nobody is IN !

    Report this comment

    che bramley

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  • Why bother spending anything at all on what is officially the most religiously apathetic city in the UK? If this city is Godless now,imagine what it will be like in a few generations time.God will just be something that rhymes with I-pod.

    Report this comment

    Nexus_6

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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