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What you’ve been saying about Torquay Christmas lights being saved

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 02, 2016

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What you’ve been saying about Torquay Christmas lights being saved

Comments (7)

SINCE the news broke earlier today that The Breeze saved Torquay Christmas light by sponsoring them, there's been a mixed reaction from our readers on Facebook.

The news that the lights were saved was greeted with excitement. But other readers are worried about the lack of decent shops in Torquay.

Work will start on November 9 putting up the new supporting wires and lights for the town centre after one business stepped forward with a massive festive boost for the town.

And extra lights are being shipped in from France to make sure the town centre from the Town Hall to lower Torwood Street glow in the dark.

It is hoped they will all be in place for the Torquay Christmas Carnival event with its floats and fancy dress on Saturday November 19.

Torquay Chamber of Commerce chairman Susie Colley has confirmed that The Breeze radio is paying for the lights this year.

There's been a mixed bag of comments from readers on social media, with most being relieved that the lights have been saved.

Jennie Jeffreys wrote on Facebook: "Thank you Breeze, my grandchildren are going to be so excited!! Town getting a warm feeling again."

Krystina Bonnici wrote on Facebook: "Amazing news for everyone, especially the children in the bay! Thank you to Breeze and well done to all the traders who made pledges."

Maggie Sorton wrote on Facebook: "That's wonderful news, thank you so very much."

Marie Tanton wrote on Facebook: "Brilliant news for the town. Well done to the Breeze for coming up with double what the town centre traders could raise between them. Hopefully plans are already in place to make sure this situation doesn't happen again next year."

Iona Jarvis wrote on Facebook: "Glad to see we will be getting our lights after all."

Anthea Hopkins wrote on Facebook: "I think it'd be lovely for the sponsor to be the one to turn on the Christmas lights. It would give people a chance to show their appreciation towards his massive contribution."

William Stephens wrote on Facebook: "Well done to the sponsor and the traders. Hats off to you all."

Carol Haggerty wrote on Facebook: "Brilliant, now let's all support local traders this Christmas."

David John Ring wrote on Facebook: "Well done to all that have turned this around."

However, some readers were more sceptical about Torquay not having enough good shops to bring in the crowds.

Sandra Wills wrote on Facebook: "Any chance of getting any decent shops in Torquay as well?! Not charity or coffee shops though! Still won't go there because of this and parking fees are ridiculous!"

Sarah Mayo wrote on Facebook: "Whats the point. How many people buy Christmas presents on the high street? Most people go to Exeter or Plymouth or buy online. If people supported the shops in the town centre there wouldn't be so many going out of business and making empty units. Hopefully people will at least try to support the traders this year."

Denise Harris wrote on Facebook: "Torquay has died! No quality shops left, parking charges need to be reviewed, the whole area looks neglected!"

Gary Poston wrote on Facebook: "I don't see the point. Unless you are shopping for a mobile phone, or going into the 99p shop or one of those horrendous shops. As for late night shopping, that is soon old hat now."

The announcement is welcome news after last week the chamber said the lights were off as it had not been able to raise enough money.

Since the shock news reverberated around the town, other local businesses have pledged some £17,000 towards a last minute replacement scheme proposed by the man who has put up Torquay's Christmas lights for 30 years, Torbay Display's Steve Holdup.

He said he would not take up those pledges now that the Chamber has found a single sponsor.

A spokesman for The Breeze, said: "After consultations with the Chamber of Commerce, The Breeze South Devon has stepped in and will fund the cost of the lights in its entirety."

Nick Jackson The Breeze South Devon breakfast show presenter, said: "I, like everyone else here in Torquay, was absolutely gutted to learn that there would be no Christmas lights this year. "

Mrs Colley said she was 'over the moon' with the sponsorship.

Work would start on November 9 putting the lighting system up.

She said Gala Lights have been asked to pull out the stops to get extra lights brought in from France so there would not only be sparkling icicles but also light features across the streets.

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7 comments

  • xschemer66  |  November 04 2016, 12:59AM

    @ Dart1953. Hmmm, I can't stop laughing! I saw you're profile picture next to you're name....it looked like a larger lady with a big bust, with a monkeys head and long brown hair, wearing a black and white dress. Then my eyes refocussed lol!

  • Falconbridge  |  November 03 2016, 2:18PM

    Most people just seem to be happy that there will be lights, but the whole saga leaves lots of questions. The day before the announcement of the Breeze sponsorship, Steve Holden was putting up fairy lights in Fleet Street crowing about how the Chamber had failed to raise the money in 8 months, but he had raised it in 4 days. So why didn't Steve try to help the chamber fund-raise if he cared so much, and why weren't those companies that pledged Steve £17,000 prepared to offer that money to the Chamber? If Steve Holdup had provided satisfactory lights for the past 30 years, and was capable of raising money himself; why did the Mayor ask the Chamber to take on the responsibility this year? And why didn't the Chamber employ Steve to erect the lights; are the Gala lights superior, or are they cheaper, or is the whole saga mostly about personality clashes?

  • dart1953  |  November 03 2016, 12:47PM

    Totally agree with BayOracle i will not be seeing the Christmas lights the parking charges are to high, We went to Princess theatre the other night we also wanted to enjoy a pre-show dinner in a local restaurant, it cost £10 to park the car on the sea front!! the talking point all night with over upset locals.

    |   5
  • BayOracle  |  November 03 2016, 9:33AM

    Parking charges continue to be a deterrent for locals. The council in its wisdom has not noticed that car parks are for the most part empty. If they reduced the charges drastically then they could be full and the council would get some rather than no income from them. An added benefit would be that the residential streets would no longer be clogged with shopper and commuter cars which would mean they could be cleaned more easily and the bin lorries etc could operate easily - there are times when we don't get our bins collected because commuter parking means they can't get the truck in. What happened to all the money raised in collection boxes for the lights?

    |   6
  • spindleshanks  |  November 03 2016, 7:24AM

    Highly amusing that the Chair of the Torquay Chamber of Commerce is interviewed on TV news (following the earlier PR disaster of "No Christmas lights in Torquay"), telling residents that they should be supporting traders in Torquay town centre in the run up to Christmas when the Chamber itself appears to have awarded the contract for the supply of Christmas lights to a company based in Kent, that appears to be majority owned by a concern in France, doesn't employ local Torbay people and, according to various reports in the Herald Express over the past few days, wants to charge between £8.000 and £13,000 more than the local company that has supplied the Christmas lights in Torquay town centre for many years would have done. Only in Torbay (sorry Torquay) - joyeaux Noel.

    |   10
  • Tauntonhobbit  |  November 02 2016, 9:12PM

    Major 'shopping villages' and 'retail centres' (think Drakes Circus/Aztec/Bluewater et al) will kill the High Street as we know it within ten years.

    |   5
  • MrWiseman  |  November 02 2016, 7:56PM

    "Any chance of getting any decent shops in Torquay as well?! she says. the answer is Yes, if you cut down on out of town shopping and buying on the internet. We can only spend our money once. The high streets will continue to decline and whole parades will be gone in a few years as shoppers prove that they prefer to shop away from the high street.

    |   14

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