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£80,000 could be spent on upgrades to Maidenhead's Christmas lights

Almost £80,000 could be spent on a raft of upgrades to Maidenhead’s annual Christmas lights display.

Provisional plans to expand the town’s festive offering were outlined to Royal Borough councillors on Tuesday.

Members of the Culture and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel were told the scheme, which could include new illuminations for Queen Street, the Nicholsons car park, in Broadway, and the Bell pub, in King Street, would cost £79,026.30 in the first year of the scheme.

This would include the initial purchase and installation. In subsequent years, this cost would fall to about £17,000.

Maidenhead town manager Steph James said: “Maidenhead is going through a significant period of change.

“The regeneration programme is huge and it’s very difficult to maintain business as usual.

“But footfall in Maidenhead in 2016 was 20 per cent higher than in 2015 and shows that what we’re doing in the town is working.

“New businesses are also really helping to drive footfall, but there’s still going to be more and more disruption in the town and we want to make sure things are as good as possible – especially in key times like Christmas.”

The panel’s chairman, Cllr Gerry Clarke (Con, Bisham and Cookham) said he supported the idea but he would like greater individuality or ‘wow factor’ added to the display, which could act as a bigger draw for visitors.

Also discussed were plans for The Brocket, a listed building in Boyn Hill Avenue owned by the Royal Borough.

In a consultation on its future held earlier in the year, the top suggestions were conversion to a museum or heritage centre, flats with provision for ‘key workers’ such as teachers and health professionals or for education use.

Cllr Clarke conceded the numbers responding to the survey ‘weren’t huge’ but that several suggestions for the building’s use had been raised.

He added: “I genuinely think we’ve taken every reasonable effort to invite comment from everyone in Maidenhead with an interest and it’s clearly now up to the people.”

The suggestions will now be passed to the Cabinet Regeneration Sub Committee, which was due to meet yesterday (Wednesday) for consideration.

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