Illuminations to be outsourced to save money

Iluminations in Skegness.
Iluminations in Skegness.

East Lindsey District Council is to outsource the operation of its illuminations in Skegness and Mablethorpe in a bid to save cash - amid warnings that the current set-up is “not sustainable”.

This year the district council has spent £120,000 storing, operating and maintaining its displays - just half of what was spent per year as recently as six years ago.

Iluminations in Skegness.

Iluminations in Skegness.

And with the displays beginning to show their age, and work needed on some of their underground connections, the council is to explore the possibility of leasing displays from private companies, rather than owning, storing, operating and upgrading the displays at their own expense.

At a full meeting of the authority last week, a report recommended that councillors vote in favour of bringing in private contractors to supply and operate the lights.

The report also recommended the possibility of corporate sponsorship for some of the lights.

In its recommendations, to the council, a report by the scrutiny panel, said: “Increasing financial pressures on the district council will mean the end of the illuminations provision in its present form.

“However, it was agreed that although today illuminations are no longer seen as the prime reason to visit most resorts; they are part of the overall visitor ‘offer’.”

The report was approved.

Speaking at the meeting Coun Daniel Simpson said illuminations were “money well spent” because the lights generated a “feel good factor”.

A spokesperson for ELDC said that outsourcing the displays meant that costs would be reduced and the towns could enjoy newer displays - adding that the older bulbs were much less efficient than LED lights, and therefore cost much more to operate than the larger modern displays which could be contracted in.