Liskeard Town Council wants to consult with local residents about whether they want to continue having Christmas lights in the town centre, even if this means a rise in council tax.

Liskeard’s Christmas lights are organised by a group of volunteers and paid for by voluntary contributions from businesses and the public, in addition to grant support from the town council. 

However the council has now said that this “is no longer sustainable.” 

A spokesperson from the council explained: “Over the last few years, the amount of money raised has dwindled considerably, and the number of people volunteering to support the team has fallen, despite recent campaigns for more volunteers. 

“There have been changes in legislation as well as increased costs for insurance and energy and in addition, the lights ultimately need replacing with updated displays and more environmentally friendly lighting - but the money simply hasn’t been there to do this.”

Liskeard Town Council have spoken to local traders who say “if there are no longer Christmas lights in the town centre it will really affect their businesses.” 

The council is now asking local people to consider whether the Christmas lights should be paid for entirely by the council. In this scenario they could employ a specialist company to install and take down the lights every year and provide"new vibrant displays".

Christmas lights liskeard
Lights in Plymouth, Helston, Sidmouth and Bodmin as an example of the sort of lights a specialist lighting ( )

The town council will meet on August 29 to decide whether to agree a three-year contract with a lighting company chosen through an open tender process. 

If this were agreed, the council have said “it would mean a very small rise in council tax – this would be about 11p a week for a band D household.

“Before the decision is taken the Town Council wants to know what local people think.”

To comment on the survey visit and look for ‘Christmas lights survey’, or fill in a short paper survey, available from the town council offices, next to the Public Hall on West Street; or the Tourist Information Centre, with the museum on Pike Street. Responses must be handed in by 9am on August 25. 

The council will also be asking people’s views at the Summer Funday in Castle Park on August 12. 

Mayor of Liskeard Cllr Simon Cassidy added: “This is a big decision, and we really want to know what local people think before we make it. We appreciate that times are hard for many people and that is why we have kept our part of the Council Tax precept amongst the lowest in Cornwall for the past four years. At the same time, we know that Christmas lights bring people into the town centre, enabling us to celebrate Christmas together and supporting local businesses.”