Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough is to conduct an audit of the Christmas light provision across its town and villages following concerns expressed by local councillors during a committee meeting.
The issue was first raised at a meeting of the council’s economic development and regeneration committee by Councillor Paul Greenfield who asked if a report could be brought back on the age of the Christmas lights used in some towns in the borough.
Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon said he agreed with Councillor Greenfield and suggested the local authority carry out an audit of Christmas light provision within the borough.
“Maybe an audit of the Christmas lights across the borough would be useful as I noticed that some back streets in Portadown had more Christmas lights than the likes of Markethill and Keady,” he said.
“I know there has been investment in previous years but for me, there appeared to be less lights in place in December.
“Maybe there were faulty lights or something like that but if you take a look at some of the back streets in Portadown there are more lights in those than in some of our towns and villages.
“This is not about saying take lights out of Portadown, this is about saying there are other areas that we need to invest in and I would be keen for a report to be brought back at the earliest opportunity.”
Cllr O’Hanlon also called for the council to develop better local branding for its 2022 Christmas campaign.
“I think there needs to be early planning for Christmas ’22. I for one would be keen to see the return of twilight markets, and I would be keen that is programmed at an early point,” he said.
“Also our campaign from last year ‘light up the borough’ was ok but if you go to Lisburn or Ballymena, it means the same. There is nothing distinctive about it and I don’t know what the best route to do so would be but I think it would be a good idea to seek members views and test slogans before we go to a full campaign next year.
“I think we need to try and be much more specific and a local spin needs to be put on it.”
Councillor Kyle Savage welcomed the suggestion but called for the council to start discussions in May so as not to heap lots of extra work on staff in the mouth of Christmas while Councillor Paul Duffy said it was important to make sure the infrastructure for Christmas lights is in place in each town and village.
Council’s head of economic development services Nicola Wilson said she was “happy to organise workshops early in relation to branding” and confirmed the other concerns expressed will be followed up on by officers.