Residents of Trinity Close in Burnham-On-Sea quietly switched on their stunning Christmas lights display last night (Sunday, December 1st) with the aim of raising festive cheer… but not charity funds following the advice of a safety group.
The 100,000 twinkling Christmas lights – dubbed ‘Britain’s most festive street’ by the national press – are now lit each night from 4.30pm-10pm until the end of the first week of January.
The display was quietly switched on by residents on Sunday evening with no special event following the advice of the Sedgemoor Safety Advisory Group.
As first reported by Burnham-On-Sea.com, a charity collection is not taking place and yellow parking restriction cones have not been set up along roads leading to Trinity Close.
The residents’ decision comes after they were advised by the Safety Advisory Group that they could be held liable for any accidents if the display is run as a formal event.
However, residents are urging visitors who visit the display to be courteous to other residents by not blocking drives and to avoid by coming by car if possible.
A spokesman for Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Councils told Burnham-On-Sea.com on Thursday evening: “We’ve always been pleased to support the residents of Trinity Close with their fantastic Christmas display and worked with them last year to implement permanent traffic orders to help improve the parking situation.”
“As the display has grown in popularity we have provided advice through the Sedgemoor Safety Advisory Group to ensure they are aware of all aspects of running a safe event, not only for themselves but for all the spectators.”
“We would like to make it clear we have not advised the residents to change the display or to stop collecting money for charity. The advice given to them was a reminder that that anyone putting out traffic cones in the road needs to be accredited for their own safety.”
“Cones that are not placed in the correct positons for the amount of traffic can become more of a hazard, rather than a help in managing the traffic flow. There are many options for this, including using accredited volunteers who would be pleased to support a popular charity event.”
“This advice is well intended and we are happy to work with the organisers to support their plans for the future.”
The Trinity Close residents’ decision not to proceed with the charity collection or parking restrictions has been outlined in a letter distributed to home owners in the surrounding area this week.
The letter says: “For the past few years, yellow cones have been used on Trinity Rise, Pizey Avenue and into Mountbatten Close to restrict parking during December.”
“Initially, this was done after consultation with the local Police who lent us yellow no-parking cones, hoping to improve pedestrian safety and access to homes.”
“However, this year the Sedgemoor Safety Advisory Group (SAG) has passed on a statement from a member of the Somerset Highways Department saying that they cannot condone the use of cones, affirming that ‘should an incident occur as a result of your actions (placing the cones), you could be held liable.’”
“Therefore, those of us in Trinity Close will not be putting any yellow cones out this year. It is worth noting, however, at no point has SAG made any other suggestions for improving safety or access to our homes.”
“SAG describes the display of lights on private homes with the provision of a charity collection as ‘an event’. In order to avoid the ramifications that accompany an event, there will be no advertised switch-on, no media involvement at our instigation, no collecting box, and the switching on and off will be individual to each resident.”
“In short, there will be no Trinity Lights display for charity this year. However, the lights will be displayed by those who do them for personal enjoyment.”
The event has raised over £100,000 for local charities over the years, including BARB Search & Rescue and Petal Cancer Support.
Safety Advisory Groups were set up across the UK in the aftermath of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster by Lord Justice Taylor. The groups consist of Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance services and councils and their role is to give comprehensive safety advice to event organisers.