A Merseyside street is being lit up with 300,000 twinkling bulbs to create a beautiful new ‘boulevard of light’.
Covering two sides of a mile long stretch, the lights are being wrapped around 80 trees, transforming the area which is usually popular with shoppers and diners when businesses are allowed to open.
A total of 300 sets of LED lights are being installed along the historic Lord Street in Southport, as part of a scheme by Southport Business Improvement District (Southport BID).
It’s hoped the transformation will set the scene for when the town’s hospitality industry can come back to life when the latest national lockdown ends.
Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said: “We have enjoyed some superb feedback from local businesses and local people about our initiative to light up Lord Street.
“Lord Street is one of the most famous shopping and dining streets in the UK. With people now looking forward to more businesses reopening as lockdown restrictions ease, we were determined to create a beautiful environment to attract visitors into Southport and customers into local businesses.
“The scheme has been made possible thanks to funding by Southport BID along with match funding through a Southport Town Deal Acceleration Grant. As soon as the funds became available we ensured that work started as soon as possible.
“The response from people as the new lights have been installed has been fantastic. They love the bright new lighting along Lord Street.
“As people return to using local shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and other businesses in Southport town centre, we hope they will enjoy the beautiful ambience that this new lighting creates.”
Over the winter, a team of four people from Southport firm Illumidex UK Ltd have worked from 6pm to 11pm every Sunday to Friday to create the installation.
Steve Clayton, from Illumidex, said: “The response has been unbelievable. Some people have been pulling over in their cars to say what a great job we’re doing. Some have been coming out each night to see how we’ve been getting on.
“When the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and people start coming back into the town centre, it is going to look sensational.
“If you laid out all the lights we have used, they would reach 22 miles – that’s only about three miles short of the narrowest point of The Channel. Or, they would stretch from Southport to Liverpool and half way back again.
“We began this project at the end of November and started installing the first lights on 17 January. We have worked fast, which has been helped by Southport being very quiet due to the Covid-19 national lockdown.
“I don’t know of anywhere else in the UK which is going to have a one mile shopping street like this containing 20 miles of lights with 300,000 bulbs wrapped around 80 trees. It looks stunning.”
Southport MP Damien Moore said: “The lights along Lord Street look amazing! I am looking forward to seeing this project being completed.
“This Government funding through the Southport Town Deal is an opportunity to present a vision not only of what we want for Southport now, but where we want to be in the future.”
Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, Cllr Marion Atkinson, added: “The lights that have been installed so far look amazing, and I’m so excited for more people to see our spectacular boulevard once lockdown restrictions are lifted and the installation work is complete.
“Sefton Council secured £100,000 of funding towards this project from the Town Deal Acceleration fund, and whilst we wait with baited breath to hear what our final allocation of funding will be for Southport, projects such as this prove what can be achieved when partners such as the BID, local businesses, the Council and residents work together.”
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY AMY BROWNE FROM LIVERPOOL ECHO