Annual light display will not collect cash for charity following council safety advice

PUBLISHED: 16:00 09 December 2019

Houses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea.       Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Houses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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A light display that has raised thousands of pounds for good causes will not be collecting cash this year following council safety fears.

Houses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea.       Picture: MARK ATHERTONHouses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The switch was flipped on the annual Trinity Close display in Burnham on Saturday with no fanfare following advice from Sedgemoor District Council's Safety Advisory Group (SAG).

The group told organisers they could not condone the use of yellow cones placed by residents on Trinity Rise, Pizey Avenue and Mountbatten Close to restrict parking during the December display to improve pedestrian safety in the area, as residents could be liable should an accident occur as a result of their actions.

The group also told residents there would be insurance implications for collecting cash for charity, as the private display would be deemed an event. The lights, which have been a popular festive fixture for more than 20 years, have raised more than £100,000 for various good causes, including BARB Search and Rescue and Petal Cancer Support.

An open letter in response to SAG's recommendations written by the residents of the close last week said: "Those of us in Trinity Close will not be putting any yellow cones out this year. It is worth noting, however, at no point has SAG made any other suggestions for improving safety or access to our homes.

Houses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea.       Picture: MARK ATHERTONHouses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

"SAG describes the display of lights on private homes with the provision of a charity collection as 'an event'. In order to avoid the ramifications that accompany an event, there will be no advertised switch-on, no media involvement at our instigation, no collecting box - and the switching on and off will be individual to each resident. In short, there will be no Trinity Lights display for charity this year.

"However, the lights will be displayed by those who do them for personal enjoyment."

In response to the letter, a Sedgemoor District Council spokesman said: "We've always been pleased to support the residents of Trinity Close with their fantastic Christmas display and worked with them last year to implement permanent traffic orders to help improve the parking situation.

"As the display has grown in popularity, we have provided advice through the Sedgemoor Safety Advisory Group to ensure they are aware of all aspects of running a safe event, not only for themselves but for all the spectators. We would like to make it clear we have not advised the residents to change the display or to stop collecting money for charity."

Houses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea.       Picture: MARK ATHERTONHouses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

A spokesman for BARB Search and Rescue, which has previously benefited from the lights, said: "This is disappointing news for a small, independent, local charity like us, where the funds raised really have made a big difference over the past few years.

"However, we fully respect and understand the decision and thank the residents for their wonderful, much-appreciated support."

Houses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea.       Picture: MARK ATHERTONHouses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Houses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea.       Picture: MARK ATHERTONHouses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Houses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea.       Picture: MARK ATHERTONHouses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Houses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea.       Picture: MARK ATHERTONHouses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Houses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea.       Picture: MARK ATHERTONHouses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Houses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea.       Picture: MARK ATHERTONHouses decorated with Christmas lights at Trinity Close, Burnham on Sea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON


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