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Weymouth's new lights could be in place by March next year

New Seafront Lights Weymouth Column

Published at 9:17am 7th December 2018.

Formal consent is being asked to fit new lighting columns to 31 Weymouth seafront street lights.

They will run from the old pier to opposite the Pavilion as part of the new ‘artistic’ lighting scheme using LED strips which can be computer controlled.

The latest lighting scheme will replace the seven 14-metre high laser lights which were installed at a cost of £450,000 for the 2012 Olympics and are now coming to the end of their life.

laser 1

They, in turn, replaced strings of fairy lights which from the 1950s decorated the Esplanade. Despite their popularity they were expensive to run and maintain, according to the borough council, which calculated they were costing £8,000 a year.

There have been several public petitions to retain the fairy lights although the borough council say there is nothing to stop the new town council, which comes into being in April, from considering fairy lights for locations such as the harbour side or Alexandra Gardens.

Ten letters have been received by the council about planning permission for the new light columns – six objecting.

Among them are concerns about the lights being used in a way which is “flashing, brash and glaring” or used in a way which might affect people with sight or other medical problems.

One of those in support of the lights wrote “Fresh and new ideas are sometimes difficult to get across, I appreciate the time and energy put into this project. I like the scheme.”

Objectors, in their letters, claim the scheme does not have the backing of the majority and will be out of character, and is being ‘steamrollered’ through because of time restraints and funding issues.

“This scheme is unsuitable on the grounds that it will spoil the Georgian aspect of the sea side town that Weymouth has enjoyed, spoiling an interesting historic past.” and “Totally unsuitable and out of character, along with those useless green laser lights,” according to two letter writers.

Planning officers are advising the December 12th committee to approved the application, saying: “The proposed lighting scheme will enhance the visitor experience of The Esplanade; Weymouth Seafront and The Peninsula, and benefit local residents and the evening economy.

It will not harm the character of the Conservation Area; or, adversely impact on the character and setting of nearby Listed Buildings. Planning permission for it should be granted.”

The project, costing around £200,000 in total, is expected to see installation work underway 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.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter

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