Seaton landlady unimpressed with lights

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The new Christmas decoration

A SEATON landlady is underwhelmed by Christmas decorations on the Fisherman’s Gap traffic island, saying it looks like “derelict wasteground”.

Seaton Town Council says the traffic island’s location is not ideal for Christmas decorations because of the weather and potential health and safety issues.

Jacky East’s The Vault Bar is next to the roundabout in question.

She was perfectly happy with the metal Christmas tree and its lights put in place in previous years, but is not impressed by this year’s offering, which she describes as “a string of lights between poles”.

In an email to Seaton Town Council, she wrote: “I cannot understand why no alternative (to the metal tree) has been arranged given that you had a year to organise this.

“The traffic island currently looks like a derelict wasteground. This is no criticism of the plantsman, who works very hard.

“I cannot believe the council is prepared to leave this landmark site in such a state with only a string of lights between two lamp posts.

“This does not say welcome and Merry Christmas, it says Seaton is not concerned about its image.”

Town clerk Amy Tregellas replied: “It was the end of the contract for the Christmas lights last year.

“We invited a number of companies to give us the benefit of their experience and to provide quotes for Christmas lights.

“All companies that came out and visited said that the traffic island was not the best place to put Christmas decorations due to the fact that inclement weather often blows through this area and would likely damage any decorations and could potentially be a health and safety risk.”

The town council is about to set up a group for next year, and the town clerk told Ms East: “Whilst I can completely understand why you are unhappy that there are no decorations on the roundabout, the council has to consider all spending that it undertakes to ensure best value for money for our taxpayers and that all risks are mitigated.

“It is also worth considering that the town council does not have a statutory responsibility to provide Christmas lights and in other towns this is normally provided by the local businesses through their chamber of trade.

“I am planning to set up a wider group next year, to start meeting in April, to plan Christmas for 2018.

“It would be great to get some businesses on board.  If you have lots of ideas, I would be very glad to have you as part of the group.  Please let me know if you are interested.”

Ms East said she is willing to take part, but felt this year has been wasted.

In reply to the town council, she wrote: “The comment that the position is not ideal, because of the weather and safety issues, does not stand up when you consider that the previous decorations lasted for three years.”

She also told Pulman’s View: “If Blackpool illuminations can survive October and November, I’m sure something here can too.”

She is awaiting a reply to her second email, but mayor Jack Rowland said the council has a limited budget, and that it could be costly to provide a safe feature like last year’s, especially as there is a problem with a power source.

Chief Reporter | Started his working life on a farm before becoming a screen printer, both in Sweden. Had another career change and turned to journalism in the mid1990s. Enjoyed an internship with Alexandria Gazette Packet, Va, USA, before moving to the UK. Got a job with The Clarion in Yeovil in 1998, but moved to Axminster in 2006 and has worked on the East Devon beat since.

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