Thursday, December 18, 2014

Do They Know It's Christmas? Where are the festive lights on our High Street?

OK, so the cuts have taken their toll. No Xmas lights for Deptford High Street.

Just the south end – the lights came on (as they have for the past week) just as the Wednesday market was finishing today. Nothing in Giffin Square or Douglas Way. Obviously no Christmas tree here, that would be excessive (and of course attracts street drinkers, so we can't have that). Nothing from the Giffin St junction down to the very bottom (or very important north) of the high street where there are a couple of lampposts with a twist of lights as it meets Evelyn Street. In fact there is a twist of lights down there with no bulbs attached to their sockets.

Cuts? Incompetence? Lack of care? Couldn't one of Deptford's millionaires sponsor some lights? Did no one from Lewisham ask HSBC? Barclays? Poundland? 99p Store? Iceland? Tesco? Cathedral (cashing in already on Deptford)? Hutchison Whampoa (Convoys Wharf owners about to cash in)...Waitrose even? Just who the f**k is running this high street anyway? The "Deptford Society" don't appear to know. Who at Lewisham is responsible?

No doubt Lewisham Gateway (latest phase 0% affordable housing), Lewisham centre and Catford are bountifully lit up (we've no idea because we avoid these areas like the plague). But Deptford, non! And no bloody explanation or apology either!

Update 19th December: 
(We've edited this post. A related story about no lights on the Ha'Penny Hatch is now a separate post).

Our mate Fred called the council but didn't really get a definitive answer – the chap he spoke to didn't really know and could only guess. There might be three reasons, he said. 1. The lights were found to be not fit for purpose (bulbs missing?). 2. It might be Skanska's fault (they have the contract for street lighting). Skanska have put in new lamps at the south end of the street but have not yet replaced the old lampposts at the north end. 3. It was more likely to do with cut backs. On average, Xmas lights might cost between £12-£15k (to run or to install, he didn't say). Residents could apply for money from Ward Assembly funding, get their Ward Councillors to apply for funds. Or residents could approach a developer to sponsor.

As one commenter below has said, we're an enterprising and creative community in Deptford. If we had known in advance there would be such a poor show, we might have found an alternative way to bring a bit of festive cheer to the rest of the street.

Update 22 December: Five more lampposts were lit up yesterday...


  1. I thought that last night when I saw a lonely string of lights around a lamppost up near the Vietnamese shop. All councils are limited with funding and I guess Lewisham have just decided to prioritise funds elsewhere. Greenwich seems to have managed it though. Shame on Lewisham.

  2. If there are no lights because of spending cutbacks (which is understandable) then they should have let us know in advance – we could have organised something ourselves – such as asked a developer to help out (!), or badger our ward councillors to hand over a bit of local assembly funding. Lights in Greenwich are paid for by the shops I think. And there's plenty of creative people in Deptford who could have come up with improvisations of some kind – maybe get flat dwellers to put some lights in their windows – a string of LEDs costs 99p in the 99p Store – small but if everyone did it...?