New Christmas lights: bright future or a waste of public money?

Dee Woodcock, who recently fell over in the dark and is angry about the new 'Christmas Lights' plan, when there are no street lights on in a morning, for people who go to work early.
Dee Woodcock, who recently fell over in the dark and is angry about the new 'Christmas Lights' plan, when there are no street lights on in a morning, for people who go to work early.
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Rugby will get new Christmas lights as part of ambitious plans to re-launch the big switch on.

The decorations are being provided by Rugby First and Rugby Borough Council who will split the £35,000 bill.

It was approved at Monday’s cabinet meeting.

Aftab Gaffar, managing director at Rugby First, said: “This is exciting as our new Christmas Light Switch on event also coincides with new Christmas lights in the town centre.

“The event will be spread over a large area with plans to include a new stage position, great music, a food fayre, fantastic fireworks, a new arts and craft market, a bigger fun fair, live reindeers, magic show and of course the switching on of the Christmas lights - something to appeal to everyone.

“So it’s definitely out with the old and in with the new.”

He said the investment in the new lights will enhance Rugby’s appeal and will contribute to the local economy which benefits both businesses and its customers.

Ian Hunt, who lives in Rugby, said spending money on new Christmas lights is a waste of money.

“To spend £35,000 on Christmas lights is an absolute waste,” he said. “I have complained to one of the rangers five times about street lights being out in Sheep Street.

“They have been out for two and a half years leaving shop doorways pitch black.”

Mr Hunt said he has seen revellers using the area as a toilet. He is also concerned about people’s safety

“It shows that priorities are all wrong.”

He said CCTV is a waste of money if areas are left in the dark.

But Mr Gaffar said: “Street lights are maintained by the Highways Department at Warwickshire County Council, the rangers report any defects to WCC - this includes the lights that Mr Hunt has told us about.”

Bilton woman Dee Woodcock said she is ‘disgusted’ £35,000 is being spent on new Christmas lights. She had a bad fall recently while walking to work from her home in Bracken Drive just after 5am. “It was pitch black when I fell. Luckily I didn’t break anything but I did smash my knee, cut my lip and break my glasses,” said Dee. “It’s a joke the money is being spent on Christmas lights when there are 12 days of Christmas – safety should come first.” Street lights are provided by Warwickshire County Council.