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The big Christmas switch OFF! Market Place delay hits Christmas lights display

Melksham’s celebrated Christmas lights display which brings people to the town from all over Wiltshire.

MELKSHAM’S Christmas lights display will be scaled down this year due to the delay in completing the Market Place redevelopment.

With no confirmed date for the completion of the work to the Market Place, the Melksham Christmas Lights Group has announced that they are unable to commit to a display on the same scale as previous years, due to lack of access to the site.

Leader of the group of volunteers, Paul Weymouth said, “We had to be in the Market Place by September to do something to the scale that’s expected by the community. This is when we would normally get the bulk of the cabling work done, as we have other jobs that we are committed to.

“The last official date for completion of the Market Place that was given to us was Friday 22nd September, so we said that we would be in the next day on the 23rd with the cherry picker to get things moving, but that clearly wasn’t going to happen with the place looking nowhere near ready.

“We’re now in a position where we physically can’t do what’s required of us. We will do the best that we can when we have access to the completed Market Place, but until then, we can’t say what we will be able to do. At best, we will get a basic few lights in and hopefully a tree in its new location, if they have managed to get the hole sorted.

“We are being offered work elsewhere that I can’t turn down because we ‘might’ be able to have access to the Market Place. So as time goes on, our availability is becoming more limited.

“This is all a bit of a disaster to be honest. We have been telling Wiltshire Council about this for months. They have missed the boat and have badly managed the situation.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said, “We obviously don’t want to see any delay to the Christmas lights preparation and don’t anticipate this will be the case with the improvement works nearing completion.

“We are currently working on a revised schedule to complete the work and will speak with the Christmas lights organisers to make sure they are kept aware of the plans, so they can do the preparation they need.”