Christmas lights reprieve

Christmas Lights in Bonnyrigg Town Centre.
Christmas Lights in Bonnyrigg Town Centre.

Following a report into the future of council assistance for Christmas lights councillors decided to maintain funding for this year but carry out a full review for next year.

The review will include local engagement to explore the potential for support for communities to take on the responsibility for Christmas lights in future years.

Councillor John Hackett (Lab), cabinet member for commercial operations, said: “Christmas lights are obviously an important part of civic life in Midlothian and I am glad we have been able to agree a budget which will see them return during this year’s festive period. There are quite a lot of towns that come together to celebrate the Christmas period with lights.

“There is obviously a concern about the future of the lights, with storage, maintenance etc. One of the things asked for before was a full review of the picture in different towns and what the communities would be willing to do to pick up some of the activity that the council currently carries out.

“I don’t think we have got the time to do that before this Christmas. I hope that following the review, in consultation with local community groups, we will be able to secure the longer term future of Christmas light provision in Midlothian.”

Based on 2016/17, the council provides Christmas lights at a total of 13 locations with the direct cost of supplying, erecting, maintaining and removing Christmas lights approximately £66,800 per year.