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Campaign to bring back Lyndhurst's overhead Christmas lights

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Lyndhurst's string Christmas lights were axed over health-and-safety concerns
Lyndhurst's string Christmas lights were axed over health-and-safety concerns

A LYNDHURST resident is campaigning for the return of the popular string lights which used to hang above the high street at Christmas before they were stopped over health and safety concerns.

As reported in the A&T, the village lights committee have been forced to decorate with alternatives, including coloured floodlamps, for the last two years after the festoon lights failed safety checks.

Now villager Hesper Stratford is hoping to find a solution to the problem and has set up a Facebook group, “Bring back Lyndhurst’s Christmas string lights”, to rally support.

She wrote: “For me, the Christmas lights were, are, such an important part of the village, for locals and visitors alike, and I’m confident that all of us working together can source more viable alternatives, fundraise, pursue donations and sponsorship from contractors, and potentially even a redesign of the lights format if necessary.

“It would be great to know what support I have from the locals in this possible venture.”

She added: “Hoping for the new generations of Lyndhurst village to have the same magical Christmas memories I did growing up.

“Even now, being in my 30s, those string lights welcoming me home make every winter night so much better and really make Christmas.”

However, George Bisson, secretary of the lights committee, told the A&T that it had recently looked in to the possibility of bringing them back, but the high costs meant it was not feasible.

A report said that costs would hit £50,360 to include the manufacture and supply of new brackets and catenaries plus fitting them and paying for traffic management.

Mr Bisson added: “It must be stressed that the costs only cover the supply and fitting of catenaries to enable decorative lighting strings to be attached onto them.

“While the old festoon strings are currently in storage, their overall condition is not known.

“Repairs and refurbishments may well be required and the set lengths may not suit a new system.

“Under current safety guidance the use of ladders for high level work is not recommended, so any fitting would need to be carried out using hydraulic access platforms. All this at additional annual cost.”

Mr Bisson said the committee felt the task to restore the overhead strings was too great but were “happy to engage” with anyone who wanted to work with them.

He added: “Please rest assured that the committee will continue with the existing trees, silhouettes and uplighters, thereby ensuring the village remains a place of which to be proud.”

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