A £200,000 seafront lighting scheme for Weymouth has been agreed – featuring programmable columns fitted to existing lamp posts.

The borough committee which approved the scheme were told that it did not mean the town could not have ‘fairy lights’ in the future.

Several councillors admitted their nostalgia for the old strings of light bulbs but said now the was time to move on to something more modern.

Council leader Jeff Cant says the lights, together with new toilets and the Peninsula development, are all part of a ‘grand scheme’ to revitalise the resort.

But Cllr Ryan Hope claimed that the borough council had largely ignored public opinion in voting for the new lights.

“The majority of people are in favour of the fairy lights, but we have been told by this committee paper that is not affordable. I don’t believe all the options have been pursued.” he told today's management committee.

He said there had been offers to ‘sponsor a bulb’ to help pay for the scheme and more than a thousand people had signed a new, online, petition to bring back the fairy lights.

He claimed the committee was being ‘scaremongered’ into accepting the recommendation for fear of losing the £157,000 grant in Government funding offered through the Dorset Coastal Forum.

“I don’t believe the consultation has been thorough enough and I don’t believe the people have been consulted properly on all the options…we are here to represent the people of Weymouth and Portland and they don’t want these lights.”

But his claim was denied by Cllr Cant who said the consultation had been widespread and included groups such as the Civic Society which, he said, favoured the new lights.

Earlier councillors heard from Dinah Ellis who spoke in the public part of the meeting in favour of the new lights which she said had been proposed “in the face of a lot of vitriol”.

She said people had been well informed and all the information needed was made available – “I personally am grateful for the restoration of the vista of the seafront and respect for our listed buildings,” she said.

Cllr Gill Taylor said there had been a long history, across the country, of people opposing artistic schemes and then finding that they actually liked them when put into place. She hoped the same would happen in Weymouth, but she said she was not a fan of the proposals.

“This is not what I wanted. This is a pastiche of the fairy lights and I hated the fairy lights,” she said.

Cllr Jon Orrell admitted to being a fan of the old lights but said he recognised why they would not be put back in place and said: “This scheme won’t please everybody but it won’t preclude having fairy lights in the future.

“We need to take hold of this investment for our town. Let’s not let it slip through our fingers.”

Assuming planning permission being granted work on the light scheme, could start in January 2019, to be completed by March 2019.

The scheme has been designed by design studio Tonkin Liu in conjunction with W&PBC engineers, and incorporates community feedback from two rounds of consultation facilitated by Dorset Coast Forum and Bounce Back Arts CIC

The cost of maintenance and running the lights over their expected 20-year lifespan has been estimated at £56,500.

It is still not clear whether the lights will become the responsibility of the new Weymouth Town Council although councillors were told that should be known by September.