Amount spent on Christmas lights in Wakefield district revealed

Wakefield Council has spent close to £1m on Christmas lights over the course of the last three festive seasons, figures have revealed.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 4:10 pm

The costs of illuminating the district's high streets spiked in 2018 when new decorations were bought for the city centre.

Although businesses have helped foot some of the bill in recent years as part of sponsorship deals, the local authority still has to fork out for bulbs, decorations and electricity.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the council has spent just over £988,000 on Christmas lights in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Castleford's Christmas lights switch-on attracted huge crowds this year.

The council's corporate director for regeneration and economic growth, Tom Stannard, said: "The council had not invested in Christmas lights for more than a decade, but due to the age of the lights and the availability of parts, the council needed to invest in new modern lights, new electrical boxes and cables across the district, focussing on the largest towns.

"Lights in Pontefract were upgraded in 2016, sponsored by Haribo, in Castleford in 2017 sponsored by The Really Useful Box Company.

“Wakefield and Ossett were upgraded in 2018 and 2019.

“In addition some parish councils, who fund their own lights, asked the Council for technical advice to replace their ageing lights."

The council upgraded lights in Wakefield last year.

Mr Stannard said that all new festive lights are LEDs, which use comparatively little energy and have long lifespans.

He added: "The 3D sculptures introduced in Wakefield in 2018 have been a huge success and we are looking to add a few each year, subject to securing sponsorship.

"The sponsor funds the cost of purchasing the sculpture in exchange for having their name displayed on it.

"Typical costs range from £7,000 to £10,000 to sponsor each sculpture.”

Excited families catch a glimpse of Father Christmas himself in Wakefield.

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Sponsorship deals with businesses have helped offset the cost of Christmas lights to the council.