In an attempt to make the borough of Southend On Sea as festive as possible for Christmas 2015, an ambitious plan has been announced that will allow residents to attach their fairy lights, singing Santas and gyrating reindeer displays to existing street lighting – it has been estimated that this could save some households more than £200 each in electricity bills for the period of November – January.
Jessica Grid has been contracted by local government officials to act as a Temporary Yuletide Residential Exterior Decoration Fulfilment Consultant for the town, and she sat down for an EXCLUSIVE interview with a reporter from the Southend News Network. She said, ‘Over the last 20 years, more and more households in Southend have been decorating the outside of their homes with a range of festive accessories, but in the modern economy of austerity many people have expressed concerns about their electricity bill when it arrives in January. Flights landing at Southend Airport at night need to be full of people that can see just how festive our town really is, and so we will be allowing residents to hook their displays up to external street lighting installations. I have been in charge of a team of consultants that have researched this issue thoroughly, and we have calculated that if every Southend home is decorated it will generate £4.5bn for the town’s economy.’
We travelled to Leigh On Sea to ask Bill Buzzington, owner of one of the largest annual displays in Manchester Drive, about what the decision will mean to him personally. He said, ‘I am delighted with this decision as Christmas 2014 was an absolute nightmare. From November 1st until January 3rd, I was running to the Post Office every 25 minutes to keep topping up the electricity card on my prepayment meter, and so I am incredibly pleased that the council have seen just how people like me can improve our communities over Christmas.’
At the time of going to press, a number of people have contacted Southend News Network with concerns over installations and safety. A spokesperson has confirmed to our team that the majority of street lighting posts actually have a three-pin socket that lights can be attached to, but a 30-foot ladder is required to reach it. A ladder that has been approved by the local authority must be used for Health and Safety reasons, and these can be hired for a small charge of £500 per day from your district ladder officer.
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