Town allays Christmas lights fears

"DOOM and gloom merchants" predicting a Suffolk market town would be without Christmas lights this year have had their fears quashed by council leaders.

"DOOM and gloom merchants" predicting a Suffolk market town would be without Christmas lights this year have had their fears quashed by council leaders.

Stringent health and safety regulations governing Christmas lights had led to fears among residents in the town that displays on old lampposts and buildings in the historic core of Bury St Edmunds may be axed.

But St Edmundsbury Borough Council chiefs have ended the speculation and said this year's displays would be bigger and brighter than ever.

Council leader John Griffiths said: "It's a light, bright Christmas as usual in Bury St Edmunds. There will be Christmas lights throughout the town centre - we always light up the town to celebrate Christmas so I'm sorry to disappoint the doom and gloom merchants.


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"St Edmundsbury has been working closely with Bury Town Council, the Town Centre Management Group and local businesses to ensure the town has plenty of bright lights and a wonderful shopping environment as usual."

The Town Centre Management Committee heard that certain lampposts and old buildings might be too dangerous to accommodate Christmas lights.

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The problems drew parallels with the town's hanging baskets fiasco earlier this year when fears that lampposts in the town were not strong enough to support the Bury in Bloom floral displays hit the national media.

Mr Griffiths admitted health and safety checks had been carried out but said these problems were now being resolved.

"We have a duty to protect those who live, work and visit our lovely town so we always carry out health and safety checks and where these show there might be problems we come up with solutions," he said.

"When it appeared there may be a problem earlier this year with hanging baskets we solved the problem and went on to win Anglia in Bloom for our floral excellence.

"The town was fully in bloom throughout summer and I can guarantee there will be plenty of light - and no gloom - at Christmas."

A spokesman for the borough council said plans were in place to move some lights from potentially dangerous places before the big switch-on on November 25.

The spokesman added: "We will not be able to attach lights to some fittings, like those in timber frame buildings and on some lampposts that are unable to take the weight.

"We have worked closely with our partners to ensure the town has bright lights for Christmas as usual. The scheme remains largely unchanged and there will be lots of lights this year."

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