Last night saw the test illumination of Smeaton's Tower and Charles Church as part of the Labour Council's plans to 'light our landmarks'. Lighting up Smeaton's Tower seems to be a no-brainer and I'm pleased Labour is pushing ahead with plans to make it happen. Charles Church has been added to the list of potential sites after a campaign by Cllr Chris Penberthy and myself was backed by Cabinet members. Thank you to all the local residents who got in touch to support the illumination efforts. Last night showed why we have been pushing for it: Charles Church looked magnificent and a very fitting tribute to all those who died being properly lit up on Armistice Day. The challenge now is to make sure the technical work is done to get the right colours, the right lights and the right permissions - the most important being full backing from the City Council for this work.
As a proud Plymothian I want to see pride restored in our city. For me that means not only arguing for better transport links, more jobs and better homes but also restoring and celebrating our history. Charles Church is an example of how we have collectively allowed our history to become swallowed and neglected.
City planners in the post-war years did well to preserve the church's bombed out shell as a memorial to all those who died in the Plymouth Blitz but they sought to preserve the church within a roundabout. Charles Church is now completely cut off from pedestrians and with broken and dull lighting it looks lost against the bright lights of Staples, Gala Bingo and Drake Circus at night.
That's why Chris Penberthy and myself have been campaigning to see it properly lit up at night - to restore its rightful place as a source of pride in our city and to restore the dignity in this building and what it stands for.
I want to thank the Labour-run City Council for listening to Chris and myself and for agreeing to a test lighting. I also want to thank Light and the other contractors who demonstrated the lighting, without charge, so residents and the Council could assess whether it is a project worth proceeding with. Check out the videos below to see what you think about the test illuminations of Charles Church and Smeaton's Tower and let me know.
Charles Church test illumination
Smeaton's Tower test illumination