Weymouth seafront's new artistic lighting scheme has been delayed because the borough council is still trying to find the right company for the job.

Work to install the £200,000 LED lighting scheme was due to start last month – however the search for a contractor has now been extended by an extra 4-5 weeks past the original target, which was December 2018.

It was hoped that the new multicoloured lights would be in place by March this year, however there is now a question-mark hanging over the expected completion date.

Cllr Richard Kosior, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council's briefholder for tourism, culture and harbour, said the council wouldn't be able to predict when the lighting scheme will be complete and ready to be switched on until contracts are in place.

“We are currently in the procurement process, which has been extended after some discussion with the market", he said.

"We expect this extra time taken will identify a better value and more robust and competitive supply and install arrangement.

"We are not yet at a position to provide start and completion dates until we have awarded contracts".

According to Cllr Kosior, the project is still expected to remain within the original budget – and a council spokesman confirmed that the funding, from the government's Coastal Communities Grant, will still be available when the new Dorset Council is established and the borough council disbands in April.

Designers Tonkin Liu say the new computer-controlled lights, which were approved by the borough council in August last year, are "inspired by nature – creating scenes that mimic the rising and setting sun, as well as rain and a bird in flight".

According to plans, the new lighting scheme will feature colour-changing LED lighting columns that will shine out across the promenade, forming three distinct 'zones' "based on the types of lighting column, their history and the previous, current and future uses of each zone".

During the public consultation for the designs, a hardcore of residents campaigned for the reinstatement of fairy lights along the seafront.

The borough council says it worked with the appointed design firm to consider options for the return of the nostalgic coloured bulbs - which were controversially replaced by the current £450,000 lighting scheme ahead of the 2012 sailing events – however costs proved prohibitive.

A public consultation of almost 9,000 residents was carried out during the planning stages – responses were "mixed according to consultants – mainly due to the many respondents who wanted to see the return of fairy lights.

However, it was also noted that 'a number' of people – including some of the die-hard fairy light fans – gave positive feedback on the bold new design.