Hadleigh: Jubilee beacon will not be lit again

The Jubilee Beacon in the grounds of Beaumont Community Primary School, Hadleigh.

The Jubilee Beacon in the grounds of Beaumont Community Primary School, Hadleigh. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

A SPECIALLY crafted beacon commissioned by Hadleigh Town Council to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will never be lit again because of safety fears.

A local craftsman created the wrought iron piece featuring a crown and the Olympic rings. After much debate about a suitable location, it was placed on Beaumont Primary School playing field.

It was lit once to mark the end of a weekend of jubilee celebrations in June - and that is likely to be the only time the beacon will ever shine. This is because Bob Southgate, who lives behind the playing field in Aldham Road, asked the town council to move it because he feared it was close enough to his house to pose a fire hazard.

His original request was put to the council last November but members said the beacon would be extremely difficult and “costly” to move. At the time, councillor Jan Byrne, chair of the Hadleigh Society, said the location had been picked because it was the only piece of high ground that could be seen from all directions.

But Mr Southgate, who attended another meeting recently to urge the council to make a decision on the future of the structure and safeguard his home, said: “I first came to you about this six months ago and my real concern comes from the fact that my house is directly opposite the beacon. If it burned out of control, there would be nothing to stop a fire reaching the eaves of our house. My concern is about the valuables and personal possessions we could lose if that happened.”

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As a result, the council has now resolved to instigate a ban on the beacon ever being lit again. Another person who lives in the same area but did not want to be named said: “There is a road between the playing field and the houses. There doesn’t seem much point in spending money on getting a beacon commissioned to use at special events if you can’t ever light it again.”

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