Seafront Fairy lights are 'off the agenda'

Dorset Echo: PETITION: Seafront lights campaigner Dave Burchill PETITION: Seafront lights campaigner Dave Burchill

COUNCIL chiefs are switching off a bid to reinstate Weymouth’s popular seafront fairy lights.

Campaigner Dave Burchill managed to get the issue back on the council agenda after collecting enough signatures to force a debate on the strings of lights he described as the ‘jewel in Weymouth’s crown’.

Ever since an overhaul of seafront lighting, which saw a laser show unveiled to mixed reactions, the promenade is now a ‘dark and unwelcoming place’, reckons Mr Burchill, a retired postmaster who lives in the Park District.

Almost 1,700 people agreed with him when they signed his paper and online petitions, and earlier in the summer councillors agreed to look again at the issue, saying the views of the public couldn’t be ignored.

But investigations by officers at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council have resulted in a resounding thumbs down for any move to bring the fairy, or catenary, lights back.

This is because the lights would conflict with what’s on the refurbished seafront and be ‘visually confusing’.

It would also be expensive – somewhere between £150,000 and £200,000 to start with, according to estimates – and the council hasn’t got the money.

Mr Burchill claims officers are putting ‘every obstacle in his path’ and suggests the only reason they don’t want the lights back is because they would ‘interfere with their seafront masterplan’. He reckons the lights can be installed for far cheaper than council estimates, and suggests they are put up as Queen’s Diamond Jubilee commemorative lights aided by public subscription.

Mr Burchill will have a final chance to present his case at a meeting of the management committee next Tuesday.

A report to the committee by property and facilities manager Rosie Darkin says the introduction of further and different lighting would be ‘visually confusing’ and lead to more posts being put up to the ‘detriment’ of seafront improvements.

A seafront regeneration programme to improve lighting, illuminate historical features and tidy up the area saw the removal of the 1950s fairy lights in place of modern alternatives.

Ms Darkin explains they were on for 18 weeks a year, had rising running costs, were in poor condition and were vandalised regularly. She said they were mainly attached to lamp columns which were removed for a PFI-funded lighting scheme and could not be carried on the replacement columns. She rules out new fairy lights as she claims they would need 50 new support columns along the beach edge of the promenade resulting in an ‘over cluttered seafront.’ The estimated cost of a basic scheme would be £156,500 plus £3,000 annual running costs. Schemes similar to those in Paignton or Torquay would cost more.

Ms Darkin points out the return of the fairy lights is not supported by all, citing the petition by Mark Probin who believes Weymouth should embrace change.

Mr Probin said: “The fairy lights were on a few weeks a year so why didn’t anyone complain when they were turned off?

“I think people need to accept the changes going We want the town to move forward. The Georgian heritage isn’t going anywhere and these new additions mix with that and complement the old buildings.”

Mr Burchill said: “All is not lost. I’ve had some positive feedback from some councillors and I will present my case at the management committee.”

How the esplange saga unfolded

  • 2010: Public protest as plans to remove fairy lights and introduce a Veils of Light laser scheme to bring a ‘fresh identity’ to the Esplanade. The fairy lights are finally turned off in November
  • January 2011: Fairy lights removed as part of seafront regeneration programme Autumn 2011: Veils of Light art installation approved by council
  • April 2012: Dave Burchill launches his campaign to bring back fairy lights
  • May 2012: Launch of Veils of Light lasers following long delays is met with a largely negative response
  • June 2012:Dave Burchill prompts a council debate after collecting 1,700 names in a petition
  • July 2012: Council agrees to investigate reinstating fairy lights following vote at full council
  • October 2012: Report to Management Committee recommends lights are not reinstated

Comments (17)

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10:29am Thu 27 Sep 12

lostnfound says...

How the esplange saga unfolded.
Can anyone tell me what an 'esplange' is?
How the esplange saga unfolded. Can anyone tell me what an 'esplange' is? lostnfound

11:30am Thu 27 Sep 12

Never Wrong says...

At last a sensible decision from the council.
At last a sensible decision from the council. Never Wrong

11:40am Thu 27 Sep 12

bnaty12 says...

lostnfound wrote:
How the esplange saga unfolded.
Can anyone tell me what an 'esplange' is?
I think It is Latin for low standards ?
[quote][p][bold]lostnfound[/bold] wrote: How the esplange saga unfolded. Can anyone tell me what an 'esplange' is?[/p][/quote]I think It is Latin for low standards ? bnaty12

1:41pm Thu 27 Sep 12

bollywood says...

The fairy lights were dated however the visually confusing, overpriced, poor value for money, ineffective and out of place lasers should be removed and replaced with a more effective lighting system that actually enhances the esplanade which is now dismal and unwelcoming.
The fairy lights were dated however the visually confusing, overpriced, poor value for money, ineffective and out of place lasers should be removed and replaced with a more effective lighting system that actually enhances the esplanade which is now dismal and unwelcoming. bollywood

4:28pm Thu 27 Sep 12

MrBorry says...

So what is the seafront master plan?
Is there any links to it?
Can the public get involved?

The lights need to come back but with a more modern approach.

Who ever thought those lasers was a good idea needs to be shot.
So what is the seafront master plan? Is there any links to it? Can the public get involved? The lights need to come back but with a more modern approach. Who ever thought those lasers was a good idea needs to be shot. MrBorry

5:21pm Thu 27 Sep 12

islandman says...

I am wondering where the money will come from in six months time when it is needed to remove the palm trees which are now showing they have not succeeded in growth.

Ask anyone who has ever planted whatever size plant imaginable how they went about it. First they would dig a hole, then they would fill it with water and allow it to penetrate thoroughly, prior to lowering the plant.

Following this, copious amounts of water and feed is required to ensure no airlocks form in the branches etc.

To avoid any of the above, will almost definitely lead to premature death.

Having watched the palms lowered one by one into dry soil, and discovered there are no filtering systems in place to ensure the palms grow, it comes as no surprise to me to watch daily, as the green has gone or going, new growth is already brown and the prospect of them being here this time next year, is nigh on impossible.

So now funds will be required to lift, remove and replace.
I am wondering where the money will come from in six months time when it is needed to remove the palm trees which are now showing they have not succeeded in growth. Ask anyone who has ever planted whatever size plant imaginable how they went about it. First they would dig a hole, then they would fill it with water and allow it to penetrate thoroughly, prior to lowering the plant. Following this, copious amounts of water and feed is required to ensure no airlocks form in the branches etc. To avoid any of the above, will almost definitely lead to premature death. Having watched the palms lowered one by one into dry soil, and discovered there are no filtering systems in place to ensure the palms grow, it comes as no surprise to me to watch daily, as the green has gone or going, new growth is already brown and the prospect of them being here this time next year, is nigh on impossible. So now funds will be required to lift, remove and replace. islandman

9:12am Fri 28 Sep 12

ukjulie says...

I have a page on Facebook where people are expressing their views. Take a look

https://m.facebook.c
om/?refsrc=http%3A%2
F%2Fwww.google.co.uk
%2Fsearch&_rdr#!/pro
file.php?id=33616055
3140013&__user=59717
9668
I have a page on Facebook where people are expressing their views. Take a look https://m.facebook.c om/?refsrc=http%3A%2 F%2Fwww.google.co.uk %2Fsearch&_rdr#!/pro file.php?id=33616055 3140013&__user=59717 9668 ukjulie

9:13am Fri 28 Sep 12

ukjulie says...

The page is called - we'd like the fairy lights back in Weymouth
The page is called - we'd like the fairy lights back in Weymouth ukjulie

12:15pm Sun 30 Sep 12

A Real Wyke-ite says...

How to attract visitors for 100 years;
http://www.visitblac
kpool.com/illuminati
ons
How to attract visitors for 100 years; http://www.visitblac kpool.com/illuminati ons A Real Wyke-ite

4:30pm Sun 30 Sep 12

JelliedEel says...

Can I have them for my tree this Xmas if you are not going to use them?
Can I have them for my tree this Xmas if you are not going to use them? JelliedEel

6:31pm Sun 30 Sep 12

Peter Gunn says...

I'm afraid the fairy lights fall into the same category as Condor, gone for ever!
I'm afraid the fairy lights fall into the same category as Condor, gone for ever! Peter Gunn

5:23pm Mon 1 Oct 12

I'mavoter says...

Never Wrong wrote:
At last a sensible decision from the council.
In your opinion ! Not necessarily everybody else's .
[quote][p][bold]Never Wrong[/bold] wrote: At last a sensible decision from the council.[/p][/quote]In your opinion ! Not necessarily everybody else's . I'mavoter

5:25pm Mon 1 Oct 12

I'mavoter says...

MrBorry wrote:
So what is the seafront master plan?
Is there any links to it?
Can the public get involved?

The lights need to come back but with a more modern approach.

Who ever thought those lasers was a good idea needs to be shot.
Absolutely agree.
[quote][p][bold]MrBorry[/bold] wrote: So what is the seafront master plan? Is there any links to it? Can the public get involved? The lights need to come back but with a more modern approach. Who ever thought those lasers was a good idea needs to be shot.[/p][/quote]Absolutely agree. I'mavoter

8:58pm Mon 1 Oct 12

gattens11 says...

Manchester wants to keep the fairy lights,i agree with mrborry.No lasers.
Manchester wants to keep the fairy lights,i agree with mrborry.No lasers. gattens11

1:48pm Tue 2 Oct 12

portland rebel says...

the council admit they got it wrong !
the council admit they got it wrong ! portland rebel

3:44pm Tue 2 Oct 12

JelliedEel says...

O Fairy Lights, O Fairy Lights,
You are off the agenda,
O Fairy Lights, O Fairy Lights,
The Council are on a bender;
You twinkled bright for all to see,
But Lasers won by Council decree,
O Fairy Lights, O Fairy Lights,
Your are off the agenda.
O Fairy Lights, O Fairy Lights, You are off the agenda, O Fairy Lights, O Fairy Lights, The Council are on a bender; You twinkled bright for all to see, But Lasers won by Council decree, O Fairy Lights, O Fairy Lights, Your are off the agenda. JelliedEel

11:03pm Tue 2 Oct 12

MrBorry says...

portland rebel wrote:
the council admit they got it wrong !
Got it wrong is a slight understatement.
[quote][p][bold]portland rebel[/bold] wrote: the council admit they got it wrong ![/p][/quote]Got it wrong is a slight understatement. MrBorry

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