Southend News Network has seen official documents confirming that Christmas will be cancelled in Southend Town Centre in 2016 – this decision has been taken after the success of a pilot scheme to remove the Southend Airshow from the annual calendar of events.
We were able to speak with a council insider regarding the plans, and he is adamant that the right decision has been made.
He said, ‘Christmas brings thousands and thousands of people into Southend Town Centre in November and December every year, and the costs of keeping them all under control and stopping them from jumping into the sea have continued to escalate out of control annually. Tough decisions have to be made about the best way to spend our limited budget, and we felt that removing the festive season will actually bring a wide variety of benefits to our local businesses.’
‘We are aware that this retail period generates hundreds of thousands of pounds for Southend businesses – however we would urge our loyal traders to see the bigger picture, whatever that is. Southend is a year-round shopping destination anyway, and a few sparkling lights and jolly songs will hardly be missed.’
Bertie Sludge, chairman of the Southend Seafront Trader Consortium, is delighted with the news. ‘Every festive season brings nothing but misery and low revenue for us, and scrapping Christmas is excellent news for all concerned. Everyone seems to just use the High Street and nowhere else, and perhaps we will now see more people attracted to the seafront instead – December is the perfect time to sample an ice cream, go for a paddle, and run half-naked through the fountains.’
A number of residents have reacted to the news with a mixture of shock and horror. Here are some of the views that we have taken from our Facebook page, along with one that has been made up.
Jessica Wallop, 31, Stambridge
Christmas has traditionally been organised by the council in Southend for a number of years now, and I will be sorry to see it go. However, austerity is all about giving the country a solid foundation for the future, and I am sure that a number of smaller shopping events that are linked to a religious festival will be organised – these will be just as good!
Candy Flipnugget, 15, Westcliff
I am well upset about what the council have done. Christmas was always super busy, and it was well possible to swag some wicked ear hoops from New Look – no one saw nothing innit.
Carmella Fudge, 42, Medium Wakering
Perhaps the answer would be to move Christmas. December is always such a busy time of year with nativity plays, carol services and grotto visits – it is nearly impossible to fit Christmas in as well. If the council were able to shift it to May, it would be so much more popular in the warmer weather, and they could even have little stalls along the seafront and some aerial displays to draw in the crowds.
We contacted the North Pole for their reaction to the news, and a spokesperson confirmed that they were looking into some alternative locations for Christmas. Unofficially, it is thought that Clacton will be the preferred choice.
What do you think of the news? Let us know on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/southendnewsnetwork *All comments left on our Facebook page become property of Southend News Network, and we reserve the right to pass them off as our own thoughts and opinions.