Town's Christmas lights fall into road

AN investigation is under way after two sets of Christmas lights plunged on to the High Street in Colchester, causing traffic chaos.Miraculously no-one was injured when the lights, which had been strung across the road between shops, fell down within minutes of each other at 11.

By Annie Davidson

AN investigation is under way after two sets of Christmas lights plunged on to the High Street in Colchester, causing traffic chaos.

Miraculously no-one was injured when the lights, which had been strung across the road between shops, fell down within minutes of each other at 11.30am yesterday.

The High Street was immediately closed and police moved to cordon off areas underneath all the remaining lights in case they also fell.


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Eventually the decision was taken to remove all the lights for safety reasons but not before the town's roads became gridlocked with traffic.

North Hill and the High Street were shut to vehicles for most of the afternoon as investigations were carried out.

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Traffic built up around the town centre as motorists were diverted onto other routes.

The lights were put up last week by private contractors employed by Colchester Town Partnership.

Jamie Youell, 23, who was working in Johnson's Cleaners in the High Street, said: “A coach came past here and the lights were hanging on top of it.

“As it drove off the lights fell into the middle of the road. The baubles flew everywhere and it was very loud.”

Colchester Town Partnership executive director Chris Rawlinson was at a planning meeting on East Hill for the Christmas light switch-on event - which was due to be held on Sunday - when the lights fell.

She said: “I was walking back up the High Street when I thought 'where has the light gone from the top of the High Street?' Then I saw it by the side of the road.”

Mrs Rawlinson said the cause of the incident was not known and added: “The most important thing is that no-one was hurt.

“It could have been a disaster but fortunately no-one was underneath it. One car was very slightly damaged but that is all.”

Until the cause of the falling lights is known, Ms Rawlinson said she could not comment on when they might be replaced.

She praised emergency services for their response to the situation.

A spokeswoman for Essex County Council's highways department said: “We will be investigating along with Colchester Town Partnership's contractor to find out what went wrong.”

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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