Wellington town centre could have a very different look this Christmas. Retailers are making plans to install an artificial tree lit by white LED lights above each shop front. The idea has been inspired by the success of a similar scheme at Crediton in Devon and traders have had discussions with the town clerk there.
“The big issue drawing people out of the Waitrose car park – usually packed on a Saturday – and into the town which is often empty and looking a bit sad,” said Sharon Davis, of Flowers & Interiors, one of the Wellington Traders Group introducing the scheme.
Each installation of tree, lights and bracket is expected to cost around £150 and fundraising will begin soon. “They’d belong to the town, not to individual shops, because traders come and go,” explained Sharon. “We won’t raise enough money to do all the shops in one year, so we’ll plan to start at the Longforth Rd traffic lights and work our way into town.
“We’ve got a nice little town and we need to get people in to see it. It can’t be about one street, whether it’s Fore St, High St or South St. If it works for Wellington then it works for every shop.”
Last year a group of South St traders banded together and organised a road closure and a street event. Some retailers elsewhere in the town felt that had a negative impact on their businesses.
WTG has been in discussions with Wellington town clerk Greg Dyke who outlined the scheme to members at the recent town council meeting. It met with broad approval from councillors. “I really support this initiative. It’s a group of shopkeepers who really want to see the town looking great,” said Cllr Janet Reed.
Mr Dyke told the council that some money had already been allocated for adding to the main Christmas tree and overhead lights. This money is independent of the WTG scheme. In addition the council spend in the region of £14,000 per year storing and installing the existing lights.