Plea to light up town landmark next Christmas

The Advertiser Series: Barnard Castle market cross Barnard Castle market cross

COUNCILLORS are calling for festive lighting to be reinstalled on a town centre landmark next year.

A curtain of fairy lights was placed on the Market Cross, at Barnard Castle, yearly from 2006 to 2009, but the building has remained in the dark in subsequent years due to costs and listed building constraints.

Members of Barnard Castle Town Council are aiming to reinstall the lights next Christmas or install some kind of permanent lighting on the unique monument.

Councillor Tom Deacon said: "We have got 12 months to get some sort of item on the Market Cross that will look good.

"Can we now use those 12 months properly? I would also suggest we look at the £3,000 figure being quoted by the county council because I have heard that other towns have their lights put up for free.

“When we entered into this unitary authority we were assured we would all be treated as equals. But if this is true then some are being treated more equally than others.”

It is thought there are already four lights in the bell tower which were recently rewired and several Durham County Council officers were due to look at lighting in the facility today (Tuesday, November 3).

Councillor Roger Peat said:"It is something worth taking forward so that we can look at what other lighting effects could be done to light the whole thing up.

Meanwhile, councilor Thom Robinson described the curtain of lights as "quite a spectacle" and added: "This saga has been going on for years. It is a beautifully shaped building and it is lamentable that we were forced to take these down.

“This council hasn't been progressive enough and we are sitting on our hands. It is a very sad state of affairs."

Terry Collins, corporate director of neighbourhood services at Durham County Council, said: “We previously put up Christmas lights on behalf of Barnard Castle Town Council until around seven years ago, when the town council decided to make alternative arrangements.

“We do provide decorations in a number of towns and locations across the county and as part of this there are some decorations in the area around County Bridge, in Barnard Castle.

“We have managed to maintain our budget for Christmas lights in recent years although in the current financial climate it is simply not possible to extend the provision of festive decorations beyond what we already provide.”

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