Early switch off for Illuminations

Blackpool Illuminations 2011''New feature Bling
Blackpool Illuminations 2011''New feature Bling
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THE Illuminations will be switched off earlier this year in a bid to save money.

The council will shut down the lights at 10.30pm on week-days during their nine-week display, compared to 11pm in previous years.

However, they will stay on until 11pm during the October half-term, starting on Monday October 24, which is traditionally one of the busiest weeks of the year.

And hotel leaders today told The Gazette the move made sense – as long as they remained on later throughout the half term.

Gary Pretty, chairman of The Combined Association in Blackpool, which represents a range of traders, said: “It seems fairly sensible during the week because you don’t really see many on the Promenade after 10pm.

“But the half-term week is one of the busiest weeks of the year. There are extra performances put on, for example at the Tower Circus, so people are out and about later that week.”

Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said the council should ensure they let people know the change in the timetable to avoid disappointment.

She added: “If turning the lights off earlier saves money which can help towards another area of the Illuminations then that’s fine because in the middle of the week people are not usually out late. But half term is the busiest week of the year so I think they should stay on later then.”

Times will remain the same at the weekends - with lights out at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11pm on Sundays.

They will also stay on as usual until 2am following the Switch-On event and concert on September 2.

This year’s Illuminations will already be scaled back as part of cost-cutting measures and will start outside the Solaris, instead of at Squires Gate.

However there has been investment in new features including Bling, a new display in front of the Tower, and Theatre D’Amour which is the latest creation by celebrity designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

A Blackpool Council spokesman confirmed the lights timetable had been changed to those times stated.