Calls for better Christmas decorations in Benfleet town centre

Echo: Where are our lights? - Bob Prince in High Road, Benfleet Where are our lights? - Bob Prince in High Road, Benfleet

COUNCIL bosses have been labelled “scrooges” after Benfleet town centre was left off the Christmas decorations list for another year.

Calls have been made to install Christmas lights along Benfleet High Road to help bring more festive cheer to the town.

Frustrated residents have been campaigning for better decorations to be placed in the town’s busiest shopping parade for years, claiming the area should have its own annual light switch on like Canvey and Hadleigh.

However, for another year the shopping street has been left out.

Bob Prince, 63, of Clifton Avenue, Benfleet, said: “The High Road has the most shops that anywhere else in Benfleet and yet its without Christmas lights yet again. We were told they’d be put up once new lamp posts were put in. Well the lamp posts are in and where are our lights?

“I think it is deplorable especially when the other big towns in the borough have their own lights and events.”

Castle Point Council installed seven Christmas trees across the borough earlier this week in a bid to decorate the borough ahead of the holiday season.

Benfleet residents were dismayed as the High Road did not receive one.

John Rogers, of Oak Field Road, Benfleet, said: “I have to say in fairness to the council the trees do look really nice, and in their defence the High Road is such a long road it would be difficult to find the right place to put one here.

“But it would have been so nice to have our own tree especially as the decorations that have been put up in the past have been so abysmal. Right on the junction with Kents Hill Road, near where the library and school are would make a lovely place as it gets so busy along there.”

A council spokesperson said: “This year Castle Point Council has come up with an alternative using Christmas trees and festive lights at various places across the Borough instead of the lights on lamp columns.

“We took this  action to avoid the difficulties of the last few years where Essex County Council’s lighting columns have failed structural testing we were unable to use them for  festive illuminations and came under criticism for poor displays.

“Benfleet has its own Christmas trees just like Canvey, Hadleigh and Thundersley. There is one at Tarpots and one at the junction of School Lane and Essex Way as there is no suitable location in the High Road for placement of a tree.

“Local businesses were asked if they would like to sponsor trees however the uptake was not very high with just a handful taking up the offer.

“We have had calls from residents and businesses who are very pleased with the new illuminated trees many saying they are an improvement over our usual display.”

Comments (15)

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3:07pm Sun 9 Dec 12

GentleGiant says...

The issue with Benfleet High Road is that the public footpath is quite narrow - most of the space is private land owned by shops etc.
The issue with Benfleet High Road is that the public footpath is quite narrow - most of the space is private land owned by shops etc. GentleGiant
  • Score: 0

3:16pm Sun 9 Dec 12

bumper says...

you cannot move gypsys and have lights
you cannot move gypsys and have lights bumper
  • Score: 0

3:17pm Sun 9 Dec 12

bumper says...

you cannot move gypsys and have lights
you cannot move gypsys and have lights bumper
  • Score: 0

3:18pm Sun 9 Dec 12

Eric Whim says...

just what they need more Council spending on fripperies
just what they need more Council spending on fripperies Eric Whim
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Sun 9 Dec 12

Audioman says...

The counciol does NOT have the money for Christmas Lights.I bet that thay well all have a nice Christmas Bonus like in other years,and a good mael on the Council.
The counciol does NOT have the money for Christmas Lights.I bet that thay well all have a nice Christmas Bonus like in other years,and a good mael on the Council. Audioman
  • Score: 0

4:09pm Sun 9 Dec 12

Brunning999 says...

'I see no ships'
'I see no ships' Brunning999
  • Score: 0

4:29pm Sun 9 Dec 12

Eric Whim says...

Audioman wrote:
The counciol does NOT have the money for Christmas Lights.I bet that thay well all have a nice Christmas Bonus like in other years,and a good mael on the Council.
mince pies and winter warmer ale all round....
[quote][p][bold]Audioman[/bold] wrote: The counciol does NOT have the money for Christmas Lights.I bet that thay well all have a nice Christmas Bonus like in other years,and a good mael on the Council.[/p][/quote]mince pies and winter warmer ale all round.... Eric Whim
  • Score: 0

10:55pm Sun 9 Dec 12

benfleet101 says...

Why not do what we shops in Leigh do? We all contribute (voluntarily) to the Christmas lights and the switch on is a huge event. There is a parade, stalls and rides, thousands of families turn out, all the shops decorate their windows and stay open offering mince pies, hot chocolate etc.
Why not do what we shops in Leigh do? We all contribute (voluntarily) to the Christmas lights and the switch on is a huge event. There is a parade, stalls and rides, thousands of families turn out, all the shops decorate their windows and stay open offering mince pies, hot chocolate etc. benfleet101
  • Score: 0

9:10am Mon 10 Dec 12

Dingo says...

To be fair to Mr Prince, he is having a jolly good l
To be fair to Mr Prince, he is having a jolly good l Dingo
  • Score: 0

9:10am Mon 10 Dec 12

Dingo says...

To be fair to Mr Prince, he is having a jolly good look for Christmas decorations.
To be fair to Mr Prince, he is having a jolly good look for Christmas decorations. Dingo
  • Score: 0

10:31am Mon 10 Dec 12

benfleet 20 says...

benfleet101 wrote:
Why not do what we shops in Leigh do? We all contribute (voluntarily) to the Christmas lights and the switch on is a huge event. There is a parade, stalls and rides, thousands of families turn out, all the shops decorate their windows and stay open offering mince pies, hot chocolate etc.
Well done Leigh,This would be lovely if the shops in Benfleet did this they would definitely see their revenue increase. We have just returned from visiting family at Market Harborough as we have done for the last 7 years for our family get together, they have late night shopping around the 7th December every year, it is lovely. There are various stalls, i.e.craft stalls, hot chestnuts, local pork roasted on a spit, mince pies, mulled wine etc reindeer, Father Christmas in his sleigh, Morris dancers, rides and local radio. Now we are back in miserable Benfleet, how sad for us residents living here to hear that Canvey, Hadleigh & Rayleigh are having their lights switched on with all the" fun of the fair" going on and we have a tree at the Tarpots. I know there isn't a lot to smile about at the moment but come on castle point give us a bit of cheer, the High Road looks so miserable, there is no Christmas spirit there at all, apart from a few of the shops with some decorations. All I can say is Ba Humbug. It's a bit like the street cleaning isn't it clean, where you can see but don't worry about the side streets.

Benfleet 20
[quote][p][bold]benfleet101[/bold] wrote: Why not do what we shops in Leigh do? We all contribute (voluntarily) to the Christmas lights and the switch on is a huge event. There is a parade, stalls and rides, thousands of families turn out, all the shops decorate their windows and stay open offering mince pies, hot chocolate etc.[/p][/quote]Well done Leigh,This would be lovely if the shops in Benfleet did this they would definitely see their revenue increase. We have just returned from visiting family at Market Harborough as we have done for the last 7 years for our family get together, they have late night shopping around the 7th December every year, it is lovely. There are various stalls, i.e.craft stalls, hot chestnuts, local pork roasted on a spit, mince pies, mulled wine etc reindeer, Father Christmas in his sleigh, Morris dancers, rides and local radio. Now we are back in miserable Benfleet, how sad for us residents living here to hear that Canvey, Hadleigh & Rayleigh are having their lights switched on with all the" fun of the fair" going on and we have a tree at the Tarpots. I know there isn't a lot to smile about at the moment but come on castle point give us a bit of cheer, the High Road looks so miserable, there is no Christmas spirit there at all, apart from a few of the shops with some decorations. All I can say is Ba Humbug. It's a bit like the street cleaning isn't it clean, where you can see but don't worry about the side streets. Benfleet 20 benfleet 20
  • Score: 0

1:01pm Mon 10 Dec 12

Curbishly says...

benfleet101 wrote:
Why not do what we shops in Leigh do? We all contribute (voluntarily) to the Christmas lights and the switch on is a huge event. There is a parade, stalls and rides, thousands of families turn out, all the shops decorate their windows and stay open offering mince pies, hot chocolate etc.
Ben101...Exactly right.

It's fascinating to see those people who seem to regard the Council as a benevolent nanny who should sponsor any and all wild hare-brained projects.

If you want Christmas lights in Benfleet then get off your backside and organise it, don't expect the council to do it for you it's not their job.
[quote][p][bold]benfleet101[/bold] wrote: Why not do what we shops in Leigh do? We all contribute (voluntarily) to the Christmas lights and the switch on is a huge event. There is a parade, stalls and rides, thousands of families turn out, all the shops decorate their windows and stay open offering mince pies, hot chocolate etc.[/p][/quote]Ben101...Exactly right. It's fascinating to see those people who seem to regard the Council as a benevolent nanny who should sponsor any and all wild hare-brained projects. If you want Christmas lights in Benfleet then get off your backside and organise it, don't expect the council to do it for you it's not their job. Curbishly
  • Score: 0

9:11pm Wed 12 Dec 12

Moomoo2 says...

I have been a shop keeper in Benfleet High Road for 13 years. In all the time I have traded I have never been approached for funding towards Christmas decorations. I have however heard one excuse after another about how the council can't 'Afford' a few christmas lights for a popular high street. At one point the excuse was because the failure of the Pay and Display car park at Richmond Hall, which nobody wanted and certainly wasn't needed and after money was paid out to install, it all was wasted and never used.

Us shopkeepers work very hard to keep our businesses running in a very hard economic time. We pay our business rates and I am reading that they can't part with a little money to make our high street more festive.

I would also like to add that in my 13 years of trading Hadleigh, Leigh, Canvey, Thundersley and on two occasions Tarpots have all had huge improvements to their walk ways. Benflleet High Road have had NOTHING. We keep our shops well presented, yes part of our shop fronts are privately owned but what is stopping the part the council owns from being well maintained like every other local shopping area, we work hard to keep our local community running, why can't the council put in just a little effort to meet us half way??
I have been a shop keeper in Benfleet High Road for 13 years. In all the time I have traded I have never been approached for funding towards Christmas decorations. I have however heard one excuse after another about how the council can't 'Afford' a few christmas lights for a popular high street. At one point the excuse was because the failure of the Pay and Display car park at Richmond Hall, which nobody wanted and certainly wasn't needed and after money was paid out to install, it all was wasted and never used. Us shopkeepers work very hard to keep our businesses running in a very hard economic time. We pay our business rates and I am reading that they can't part with a little money to make our high street more festive. I would also like to add that in my 13 years of trading Hadleigh, Leigh, Canvey, Thundersley and on two occasions Tarpots have all had huge improvements to their walk ways. Benflleet High Road have had NOTHING. We keep our shops well presented, yes part of our shop fronts are privately owned but what is stopping the part the council owns from being well maintained like every other local shopping area, we work hard to keep our local community running, why can't the council put in just a little effort to meet us half way?? Moomoo2
  • Score: 0

10:23pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Moomoo2 says...

And in regards to Ben101. Please answer me this question. Why is it that Benfleet High Road is singled out and we have to 'get off OUR backsides and organise' as you put it. When all the other local shopping areas are automatically deserving. Is it a case of who is in favour with the council at this particular time, Because believe me Benfleet High Road is long overdue a makeover, we all pay our business rates anyway thanks for your hare-brained comment, your obviously the perfect citizen
And in regards to Ben101. Please answer me this question. Why is it that Benfleet High Road is singled out and we have to 'get off OUR backsides and organise' as you put it. When all the other local shopping areas are automatically deserving. Is it a case of who is in favour with the council at this particular time, Because believe me Benfleet High Road is long overdue a makeover, we all pay our business rates anyway thanks for your hare-brained comment, your obviously the perfect citizen Moomoo2
  • Score: 0

10:26pm Thu 13 Dec 12

Moomoo2 says...

I'm sorry I stand corrected. I apologise Ben101. I was directing this comment at Curbishly.....
I'm sorry I stand corrected. I apologise Ben101. I was directing this comment at Curbishly..... Moomoo2
  • Score: 0

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