Bright ideas to save the Lights

This year's Illuminations display has been branded 'outdated' and 'dilapidated'.
This year's Illuminations display has been branded 'outdated' and 'dilapidated'.
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ACTION is needed to put the sparkle back into Blackpool’s world famous Illuminations.

That was the reaction as hoteliers and tourism bosses look for new ways to bring much needed cash into the coffers.

This year’s Promenade display has been branded “outdated” and “dilapidated”– and it is not just business people who seem to think so.

Local families have also spoken out to say the twinkling lights have been less inspiring in recent years.

At a meeting at the Sheraton Hotel on Monday – a number of proposals were put forward for generating income.

This included introducing a charge for visitors, drawing in more corporate sponsors and looking at the possibility of using a nightly switch on to drum up cash.

And the plans have proved a talking point in the resort.

Sharon Leadbetter, 29, from Staining has already been through the Illuminations with her daughter Sophie, two.

She said: “The Lights were a bit lacking this year, the kids were quite unimpressed which was a shame. The idea of using a nightly switch on is a good one.”

Melanie Webber, 28, also from Staining, added: “Businesses should get more involved in financing the Lights, they benefit from them. Places like McDonalds and Burger King ought to sponsor them as they make a fortune.”

Janis Berry, 60, from South Shore, said: “I think it’s a shame the lights now start at the Pleasure Beach, Squires Gate has been entirely cut out and it’s not fair for the businesses up here. An organised system to collect contributions should be put in place.”

Karl Kenyon, 60, from central Blackpool, added: “I think the Illuminations look nice but steps do need to be put in to protect them.

“It is the responsibility of everybody who benefits from them.”

Steve Pye, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said broader thinking was required.

He added “I think any ideas to help are welcome, a wide range of ideas should be tried.

“The important thing is a strategy is put in place, it annoys me when people moan but don’t do anything constructive.

“People need to get on side”.

Claire Smith of Stay Blackpool added: “The best thing was that the meeting wasn’t a criticism of the council, the lack of cash is a national problem.

“The Lights are vital to the economy, the main question was what can we do to help you.

“Big ideas can be expensive but the smaller ideas like letting people pay for a nightly switch on could raise lots of money.”