A seafront trader has called for Blackpool-style illuminations to be installed to provide an autumn boost for the city.

Paul Thompson, owner of the Pebbles One café, on Marine Parade, Southend, said the great response to last year’s Luminosity light show proved such events were popular and called for illuminations once famous in Southend to be reinstated.

He said: “If you look at Blackpool, they are busier through the autumn when their illuminations come on than they are in the summer. It goes crazy there. Illuminations would bring that wow factor back to Southend and help drive tourists and visitors into the city.

“It would really bring back trade and visitors in the evening through the autumn and winter. I think it could be a much more modern vibe. They are an lot cheaper to run and install these days. It would complement the fireworks and the Halloween parade. I can’t believe that it hasn’t been done.


“I think it needs to be council-led because it’s their land and their highway. The money was there a couple of years ago, but I’m pretty sure plans were drawn up.

“I think the guy that runs the Blackpool illuminations was down here and it was nearly done I think.”

Derek Jarvis, councillor responsible for arts, culture, heritage and leisure, said: “The Luminocity four-day event shows how popular it is. It could well be right that the popularity of that demonstrates that a lot of people do like to see these sorts of things.

“The old-fashioned style of illumination certainly I think would be a bit passe, but I could imagine the sort of lighting that took place at Luminocity. It would be something that wouldn’t look terrible in daylight and I think the lights we put along from Paul’s place to the pier, people do look forward to seeing them.

“It’s an aspiration to aim for but at the moment we need to get our house in order in other ways. In four weeks we’ve managed to get a lot of things that we wanted to achieve registered on the system. Lights wasn’t one of them, but I do agree with Paul’s comments. I do know people go all the way from here to Blackpool to see the illuminations. It’s not something we’ve discussed in cabinet, but it’s something, in the fullness of time, hopefully we can make happen.”