18th May 2020 – 6. Christmas Lights

Report: Festive Lighting
Issued to: Town Improvements Committee Meeting 18/05/2020
Purpose of Report
Review options available for Christmas Festive Lights in Burnham on Sea and Highbridge.
Background
Christmas lights in Burnham were purchased by the Town Council using the Tesco fund. The lights belong to, are stored and are insured by the Town Council.
The annual lights installation had been carried out by the Burnham Chamber of Trade at a discounted rate using a grant from the Council. During 2019, the responsibility for the installation of the Burnham lights transferred from the Chamber of Trade to the Town Council, with increased installation costs as the former discounted installer was unavailable.
The Highbridge Christmas lights were not purchased by the Town Council, are not insured or stored by the Town Council. The Council had made grants to the Highbridge Chamber of Trade in respect of the Christmas lights, but ownership remains with the Chamber.
The lights installation in Highbridge has to date been undertaken by the Chamber. In 2019, the Chairman of the Highbridge Chamber of Trade stated that the Chamber would install the Highbridge Christmas lights in that year for the final time.
Min ref: 23/19/TIMP resolved that the Council would look into entering into a contract with an outside body for the supply, storage, repair and installation of Christmas lights in both towns.
Burnham lighting
The south end of the High Street in Burnham-on-Sea does not have permissions from property owners to install Christmas Lights on the buildings. To compensate for this solar powered Christmas trees that hang from existing hanging basket brackets were hired at a 2019 cost of £1,876.

Christmas trees
There are 2 trees in Burnham, at either end of the high street. There is one tree in Highbridge, next to the community centre. The total 2019 cost of the three trees, with supply, delivery and installation was £2,120.
Repairs to lights and infrastructure
Burnham’s existing lights have been unpredictable, in that in 2019 some lights that had appeared in good order failed (caught fire when tested) and others anticipated to fail were found to work. It has been highlighted by potential suppliers that any repairs to the current lights are likely to show a difference in the quality of light that is being emitted. The units themselves are showing signs of age and it would be noticeable if the lights were mixed old and new.
Festive Lighting have advised us that the Highbridge motifs aluminium frame, if in good condition, can be returned as a credit against future business at £15 per motif – at time of report the quantity is unknown as they are stored on third party premises, but based on quote of 26 motifs the maximum credit would be £390, subject to condition.
The connections on buildings in both towns are in need of repair or replacement. Even if the external connections are repaired, because the lights are installed on third party properties, the Council is not able to ensure that the internal electrics are in good order and that the lights will work.
The external infrastructure repairs in both towns are estimated at £5,000 (based on an electrician’s estimate of £2,800 in Burnham, the Highbridge electrician has not yet supplied an estimate).
Burnham on Sea & Highbridge festive lighting arrangements
The Council’s immediate options available:
 Purchase new lighting for both towns
 Hire lighting for a 3-year contract period
 Reuse existing lights, making necessary repairs/buying replacements where needed
 Grant scheme for 2020 due to COVID-19
Quotes
Three companies were invited to quote, but one failed to attend the December meeting. Two companies who submitted quotes are:
 Lite (Lighting and Illumination Technology Experience) Ltd
If hiring will supply and install – based in Lancashire.
 The Festive Lighting Company
Supply only due to the installation being on a 3rd party property – based in Wellington
Time Line
June Draft Design/Review Meetings * difficult due to Covid 19*
July Council Approval/Sign Off Design
August Purchase Order
November Installation
January Dismantle and refurbishments as required
Financial implications (table with breakdown attached)
£ 2,800.00 301/4319 Christmas Trees
£25,000.00 New Code Christmas Lights
£27,800.00 Available 2020/21
Please see table for quotes detail
Policy implications
Corporate Plan: Pillar 3 – Economic Development and Tourism
3.1 Support and benefit Local Business
Options available:
 Hire the festive lights
Advantages: No storage or collection/transport of lighting
Choice of different light displays each year
24 hour call out (Lite)
No ongoing maintenance or repairs
No insurance
LITE (only) offers full hire, delivery, installation, dismantling, storage and repairs package
Disadvantages: Committed to the hire period
Do not own the lights
 Purchase festive lights
Advantages: Own the lights
Support local tradesman through installation/repairs
Disadvantages: Responsible for the storage/transportation/installation
Ongoing maintenance
Call out arrangements if needed in emergencies
 Alternative Covid-19 (2020 only) option:
An alternative to providing the Christmas lights would be to offer a grant to all the businesses with a shop window on the High Street/Pier Street/Abingdon Street/Cross Street/Adam Street/College Street/Esplanade/Victoria Street/Princess Street/Oxford Street/Burnham Road/Church Street/Market Street. A grant of up to £100 per business to create an illuminated Christmas Window display.
There are, in the region of 220 shop fronts trading in the major retail areas of Burnham on Sea and Highbridge incorporating the neighbouring side streets. Some shops have shutters that would close off any display when closed, but this amounts to approx just 10%. The Covid-19 pandemic has put extreme pressure on all businesses, including those who provide our 2 towns with a High Street. We could also consider using the Railway signal box as an illuminated nativity scene, or similar building elsewhere in the town.
The Christmas lights and/or their fittings are in need of repair and the necessary tradesman would need to undertake this work during the summer.
Due to the anticipated social distancing there is unlikely to be a Christmas lights switch-on due to large numbers of people who usually come together.
This is an alternative option for 2020 because no-one knows what the future holds and if there is the likelihood of a second wave of the virus.
Do people come to our town at Christmas to see our Christmas Lights? Or to visit the shops? The window displays might encourage visitors to move around the shops admiring their windows and be more supportive to the traders.
Advantages: Creative approach allowing time to consider any alternatives to future lighting options (inspired by other areas, like Portishead who operate a lights group and raise funds)
Reduces any Covid-19 associated problems
Disadvantages: Shops with shutters at night would not be visible
Not traditionally what has been offered
Report author: Jacqui Strong Projects Officer

Report Date: 12th May 2020

Jacqui Strong: Projects Officer

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