WEYMOUTH’S seafront lasers are to remain in place beyond the date when the new light columns are expected to be in operation on the Esplanade.

The lasers have been controversial since they were put up during 2012 and are now reaching the end of their working life.

Local resident Ken Whatley complained to Weymouth and Portland Borough councillors that many were flickering, not working at all, or had become dim. He asked the council to either make them work, or switch them off.

In response Cllr Richard Kosior, Weymouth & Portland Briefholder for Tourism, Culture and Harbour said the borough council had not made a decision about the future of the lights: “Some of the laser units are not as bright as when first installed as they are coming to the end of their life cycles. At some point these may need to be replaced. In the future, the ownership and maintenance of the lighting scheme will be passed over to the appropriate authority, whether this be the town council or the newly formed unitary authority.”

His response suggests that the decision over the future of the lasers will be made by either the new Weymouth Town Council or the Dorset Council, both of which only come into being at the end of April 2019. It has not yet been announced which will take control of the seafront lights or other beachside facilities.

At the moment neither authority has any funding in their budgets specifically to remove the lasers nor any funding, estimated at up to £85,000, to replace the laser light units.

The £450,000 Arts Council-funded lasers were installed as part of a seafront regeneration programme to bring a ‘fresh identity’ to the Esplanade.

They replaced the strings of coloured ‘fairy lights’, which will not be returning now the borough council has voted for a new lighting scheme which involves programmable lights on columns along the seafront.

That project, costing around £200,000 in total, will shortly be put forward for planning permission and then go out to competitive tender with the expectation that installation work could be started towards the end of January and the new lights up and working by the end of March 2019.

A £157,000 grant in Government funding to pay for the new lights was offered through the Dorset Coastal Forum.

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