Street light success at Chatteris

Peter Murphy, Steve Barclay and Chris Savill (Christmas lights committee chairman)

Peter Murphy, Steve Barclay and Chris Savill (Christmas lights committee chairman) - Credit: Archant

Chatteris heritage street lights have been saved following a campaign by community groups who feared they would be taken down as part of a county wide programme of upgrading to LED units.

Balfour Beatty wanted to take the posts down and replace them with modern posts but it was feared the new units would not only look out of keeping but would be unable to take the weight of the town’s popular festive light display.

However, following a campaign the heritage columns will remain and instead the lanterns will be switched to LED units.

Chris Savill, chairman of Chatteris Christmas Lights, said: “We would like to thank everyone who has helped to achieve this brilliant outcome, it just goes to show what communities can do when they put their mind together.

“Thanks to all who have supported us.”

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Paul Payn, customer liaison officer for Balfour Beatty, said: “We have now analysed the integrity of the column in the area and have developed a solution.

“The team is satisfied with the quality of the units in place and, with some refurbishment on the lighting units themselves, the existing columns can stay in situ.

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“We will keep all the existing heritage columns in East Park street, High Street, Market Hill and Park Street.

“We will refurbish the lanterns themselves. If refurbishment is not possible then we will replace like for like.

“The existing columns will be painted and cleaned at the base and the sockets for the Christmas lights will remain where they are and if needed these will be re-wired.

“The lantern swaps only will reduce the time it takes Balfour Beatty to complete the work and saves us digging up the streets causing possible obstructions for pedestrians and traffic flow.”

Community groups feared the two biggest events in Chatteris could be ruined in one fell swoop if the town’s heritage black street lamps were replaced with modern grey LED ones.

Chatteris installed the 57 heritage posts in 2001 with the help of a European grant.

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