Harpenden council apologises for 'underwhelming' Christmas lights

PUBLISHED: 06:08 28 December 2014

Harpenden Christmas lights

Harpenden Christmas lights

© Geth Buckland

Christmas lights in Harpenden this year have not been up to scratch, the town council has admitted.

It has issued an apology for the ‘disappointing start to the Christmas light display’ in the town but said progress had been made to ensure the lights were working reliably.

The state of the lights has not gone unnoticed. One correspondent to the Herts Advertiser complained that the Christmas lights or lack of them in the town had been completely underwhelming.

Admitting they normally looked splendid, the correspondent said that apart from two across the High Street and two in Station Road, “which themselves are not brilliant,” the others looked as if they had placed randomly here and there.

The town council said that it fell foul of a couple of factors including changes to the regulations about festive light displays.

When workmen started looking at the lights in September, they found some work had to be done to comply with the regulations which required changes to power supplies, upgrading connections and light fixings.

In addition, the power supply to many of the trees did not work and had to be replaced which delayed testing the lights.

A spokesperson for the town council pointed out that many people did not realise that most the lights were not put up every year.

She went on: “The lights in the large trees along the High Street are left up throughout the year and are designed to work for many years.

“The town council have been adding to them over the years to make the display even more spectacular. This year it was discovered that many of the light bulbs were filled with water and did not work. These have been taken down and replaced.”

The council’s contractor has worked on the problem throughout December and on Monday night, all the feature trees and the lights in the High Street were on.

The town council has charged its contractors with keeping the lights working while beginning to replace the feature tree lights with a more reliable and robust product.

Town Mayor, Cllr Mary Maynard, said: “My greatest moment as Mayor was being on stage as the Christmas lights were switched on this year and seeing all the children’s faces light up as we switched on the beautiful Christmas tree on Church Green. Residents go into town to see the lights.

“Over the last few years, the town council has been adding to the display every year and last year it was excellent.”

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