SANDWELL Council could be set to shell out £600,000 to brighten up the borough during the Christmas period.

Councillors are being asked to flick the switch on plans for brand new festive lights which will be installed in towns and neighbourhoods over the coming years.

A four-year contract to supply “distinctive” lights is being considered by the authority’s cabinet, who hope new lights would make for “great switch-on events” and “create a sense of community pride”.

The lights will include a minimum of 396 column-mounted motifs, small lights for trees outside the council house in Oldbury and festoon lights for the Birchley Island sign in Blackheath, Reddall Hill Road in Old Hill and the Mary McArthur Memorial Gardens in Cradley Heath.

A report which will be discussed by the cabinet on Wednesday, September 20, says the current contract with an external company ends in January 2018, meaning the authority needs to start the procurement process for a new four-year deal.

The current contract is based on a mixed hire and ownership basis, where the council owns some of the lights and hires others, with the contractor responsible for installing, repairing, removing and storing the lights.

Councillor Syeda Khatun, deputy council leader, said: “Our current contract is coming to an end and so this is an opportunity to brighten up the borough with updated Christmas lights and great switch on events at each of our towns from 2018 onwards.”

The report claims some of the council-owned lights are now reaching the end of their life and need replacing and by hiring lights it allows the council to spread the cost over the term of the contract and removes large upfront capital costs.

If approved, a new tender for £600,000 over the four years will be drawn up and the council will start looking for a supplier who can provide the most “eye-catching” lights.