Article by Ongar Gazette: Billericay High Street will be shut for the Christmas lights switch-on this year.
The town council has announced plans to plough £14,500 into the festive celebrations, which will also see bands entertain the audience in the street.
Huge crowds became a safety issue last year, as people spilled out into the streets and chairman of the council, Jim Devlin, wants to avoid a similar situation in December.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Jim Devlin"]We hadn't anticipated the number of people to increase after we set the budgets. More people turned up last year and they were stepping out into the traffic so it was a safety problem. The police don't provide support in these circumstances so it is between ourselves and the Billericay Lions to supply marshals. The only way forward was to close the road and by putting signs up in advance of the actual switch on.[/quote]
Cllr Devlin says this year will be the biggest switch-on yet and is eager to fill the empty roads with live bands.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Jim Devlin"]With the road being closed we thought we better do something otherwise it is going to look a bit sparse and we would have an empty road. It will all be building up to Father Christmas switching the lights on. The £1,500 isn't extra money to go on the lights because they will effectively be the same as last year. Hopefully there will be a lot more people and that will drive the footfall in the town and it is a knock-on effect. It kicks Christmas in the High Street off and a week or so later the actual Christmas market comes along.[/quote]
A date for the light switch-on is yet to be set.
Article by Ongar Gazette