A plan to keep the Christmas lights strung up in Montrose permanently has been proposed by the community council chairman as part of a cost-saving exercise.
A long delay by Angus Council in bringing the lights down two years ago led to an outcry from residents, but that was before the current cash crisis.
In a complete turnaround Joan Stott says having the lights as a permanent feature would save the annual costs involved in installation and removal and storage.
Though the lights would be unlit except during the festive season, she said they would still be decorative.
She put her proposal to a meeting of the community council following a recent drive from Inverness when she noticed the lights remaining in numerous towns and villages.
Angus Council is set to spend around £130,000 this year on providing Christmas displays across the county, but against a background of cash shortages and deteriorating illuminations, councillors recently agreed a new system of funding that will see a quarter of each burgh’s annual lighting budget invested in the renewal of features past their best.
The impact of the new scheme and a reduced budget to take account of a near £20,000 overspend last year will be a massive 35% drop in burgh spending for 2010.
In Montrose in future the council will only meet the costs of installing lighting in the High Street and on the Christmas tree at the Town House, leaving the community council with the headache of finding £2700 to repair new lights purchased for Murray Street and Hume Street.
The community council began a fund-raising campaign three years ago to replace the town’s festive displays, raising around £10,000 which, with matched funding from the common good fund, means around £20,000 has been spent on improvements.
Photo used under Creative Commons licence courtesy of Flickr user George Deputee.