Nottingham City Council will brighten up the city with £37,500 worth of Christmas lights.
Despite cutting £27 million from its budget this year, the council embraced the festive spirit early and approved £150,000 of spending on festive illuminations over the next four years.
This covers new purchases and the replacement of existing lights, as well as maintenance costs.
Up-to-date Christmas displays are essential to maintaining Nottingham’s reputation and its ability to support the local economy, according to Council documents from last Thursday’s meeting (Nov 25).
Jeff Allen, chairman of Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID), supported the decision.
He said: “It’s good that Nottingham City Council are spending the money. Retail is vital to the UK and having a city centre that looks good is extremely important.”
Yet the costly decorations come in a year in which council cuts have resulted in job losses and decreased spending on areas such as drugs and alcohol support, parks, youth services and transport.
Visit Nottinghamshire, the official tourist board for the city, welcomed the move nevertheless.
Alex Broughton, Visit Nottinghamshire’s marketing and communications manager, said: “Christmas lights have been demonstrated to attract shoppers from miles around to retail districts and Christmas markets, and we know that the festive decorations and music typically encourage them to spend more, too.
“Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland will be the biggest Christmas market in the East Midlands…and we anticipate that the lights will help to draw even more visitors.”
Nottingham is not the only Midlands city that splashes out on its decorations.
Leicester City Council approved £50,000 to refurbish its Christmas lights in 2015, whilst in the same year Derby City Council cited annual lighting costs for Christmas, Eid, Diwali and Vaisakhi at £118,605, including ongoing repairs.