Work began yesterday (Tuesday 10 November) on a sparkling scheme to provide new decorative lighting along an historic mile-long shopping boulevard in the North West.
The provision of new lights along the Victorian Lord Street in Southport has been made possible thanks to Southport BID.
The BID and Sefton Council have worked together to secure £100,000 through a Government Acceleration Grant, under Southport Town Deal. The BID has provided further match funding for the scheme.
Work on the substantial scheme will be carried out by Southport family firm IllumiDex UK Ltd, which is also installing Southport’s sparkling 18 metre Christmas tree as well as the town’s festive decorations.
The firm will have the painstaking task of removing three and a half tonnes of obsolete lighting from trees along both sides of Lord Street.
Work began on Tuesday with the team starting from the trees outside Farmfood’s, at the Southport Community Fire & Ambulance Station end of the boulevard before heading down to the Morrison’s end a mile away – and then back down the other side.
The discarded lights would stretch for the equivalent of 22.5 miles if laid out end to end.
Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said: “The current lights in Southport have deteriorated to a point where they need completely replacing.
“There is a substantial cost to providing new lights in Southport, and removing the old ones.
“Southport BID welcomes the contribution of £100,000 from the Town Deal Fund which will go some way towards the initial costs of the new lights. The remainder of the money will be paid for by the BID, which will also pay for ongoing maintenance costs.
“The lights are something for the whole town, and for visitors, to enjoy. They create a feelgood factor which will encourage people to come and shop, dine out and stay in Southport, increasing spend with local businesses.
“We instructed an independent company to assess the tenders for the work and IllumiDex UK Ltd came out top. We were independently advised that they are the best both in terms of the quality of their work, and best value for money.”
The IllumiDex team aims to remove the current lights, working from a cherry picker and mobile boom lift overnight, when the roads are at their most quiet.
The first of the brand-new lights are scheduled to be installed in the new year with the whole project due to be completed next Spring.
Owners Steve and Jan Clayton live in Southport and are very excited at the prospect of lighting up their home town.
Steve said: “The lights that are currently in the trees along Lord Street are five years old now and are at the point where they can no longer be patched up.
“It is fantastic to see that Southport BID and the Government through the Southport Town Deal have now been able to allocate funding for replacement lights.
“We started to remove the old lights from the trees along Lord Street on Tuesday. Once we have taken them out, they will be sent to be recycled.
“Once we have taken them down, if we laid them end to end, they would stretch to 22 and a half miles – around three and a half tonnes of lights! This is a huge project and we are very proud and privileged to be doing this work for our home town.
“There are 82 trees on Lord Street with lights on. We will be working on the trees overnight each night. It is going to take us five to six weeks to complete this initial task. We are liaising with the Sefton Conservation Team which will in turn prune all the trees before we install the new lights.
“In the new year we will start installing the new lights and will finish next Spring, when Lord Street will be in its full glory.
“Everyone will then be able to enjoy seeing a tunnel of light down the whole one mile length of Lord Street and these will be on all year round.
“We love working in Southport and have such great passion in all the work that we do. When we decorate our town, we are decorating our home. We want to light up the town for everyone to come and admire, bringing families, tourists and visitors back to enjoy everything that Southport has to offer.
“Lord Street is such a beautiful street. When you look back at our history, Napoleon III stayed in Southport and designed the boulevards of Paris around it.
“Lord Street is going to look beautiful when it is lit up again.”
Southport BID has recently launched the new Southport Gift Card as a way of encouraging people to support local businesses. For more details please visit: https://southportbid.com/southport-gift-card/
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