LUMIERE is set to light the streets and buildings of Durham City once again.
The last Lumiere light festival, in November, generated more than £4million for the county’s economy at a cost of just £400,000 to Durham County Council.
An upbeat report to the council’s cabinet said an independent survey found 82 per cent of people were “extremely positive” about the festival.
Media coverage of the event was worldwide and the value of it is estimated to be more than £2million.
The cabinet meeting at Chester-le-Street civic centre was told the council received dozens of letters of support from business owners and members of the public.
The economic benefits of Lumiere were not just confined to Durham City.
The owner of a bed and breakfast hotel in Weardale wrote to the council to say he did “very well out of it”, as did a Durham Dales taxi firm which put on special Lumiere return fares.
Cabinet members were told Lumiere was a victim of its own success, when the large number of spectators led to some problems with crowd congestion.
Lumiere organisers Artichoke are confident lessons can be learned from the festivals in 2009 and 2011.
Artichoke’s programme director Helen Marriage said: “Crowd and traffic management will need to be resolved.
“We feel that having had the experience of growing audiences at the last two festivals, we can further improve the experience for the visiting public.”
Cabinet voted to recommission Artichoke to stage Lumiere next year.
Council leader Simon Henig said: “There is no doubt Durham City was not built to accommodate crowds of 150,000 people at events.
“Crowd control will need to be looked at, which may be by ticketing some exhibits or having them spread a little wider.
“Everyone who has written to us supports Lumiere, and I’m sure we are all looking forward to another equally successful festival next year.”