Lights turned off for Christmas

A POPULAR shopping area in Clevedon will have little festive spirit this yuletide - because there will be no Christmas lights. Traders in Hill Road have

A POPULAR shopping area in Clevedon will have little festive spirit this yuletide - because there will be no Christmas lights.Traders in Hill Road have spent the last year raising cash to install new lights along the street only to now be told by North Somerset council chiefs the plan cannot go ahead on health and safety grounds.The traders' association has been working with Clevedon Town Council to resolve the festive lights issue after it was told the lights - which used to be strung across the street - had to come down on health and safety grounds.And despite months of talks, council officials have confirmed no lights can be attached to the lamp posts or buildings.Hill Road Traders Association chairman Bob Hughes said: "The rules and regulations regarding Christmas lights have changed to such an extent that to put up the illuminations we normally have is near impossible."If we need to put anchorage onto any building to hang the lights from, it needs to be pull tested."Also, if any of the anchorage points cause damage to the buildings, then the association has to take responsibility for that, which we cannot do."We have also been told that we cannot attach lights or motifs to the lamp posts along the street as we have done in previous years."Mr Hughes said the association was 'very disappointed' no solution had been found to ensure the lights could go up for this Christmas.He said: "It is a real blow."The traders have worked so hard to raise around £3,000 towards the new lights and we have good support from the town council."It looks as if there will now be no formal display in Hill Road this year."Mr Hughes added that although no official lights would go up, traders were looking to put up their own to give Hill Road some festive sparkle this Yuletide.He added: "We are encouraging all businesses to do individual displays and we are looking at buying some curtain lighting for the shops."Most of the stores also do Christmas windows to make sure there is plenty of festive spirit in the street."Mr Hughes added that eventually he hoped it would be possible to erect aluminium poles along the street to hang the lights on at Christmas and use for floral displays during the summer.North Somerset Council Nick Yates said: "There is a code of practice which has to be followed regarding the installation of Christmas lights."The lighting columns are concrete in Hill Road and it is not possible to attach lights to them."* What do you think? Write and tell us at the North Somerset Times, 32 Waterloo Street, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, BS23 1LW. You can also email us your letters at nstimes@archant.co.uk


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