Christmas lights package drawn up for Harborough shopping street

This image of the lights in Church Street comes from Market Harborough Historical Society and was taken in 1955 by Dorothy Maycock
This image of the lights in Church Street comes from Market Harborough Historical Society and was taken in 1955 by Dorothy Maycock

A last-minute plan to bring some festive lights to Market Harborough’s Church Street has been suggested by the under-fire Harborough District Council.

The council had been criticised after saying Church Street would lose its normal cross-street lights, a feature of the town for decades.

The council said it was due to the street’s lighting arrangements no longer complying with regulations.

The news came as the council announced new Christmas lights would go up this year in other parts of the town centre.

Angry traders started a petition asking the council to “bring back the Christmas lights”. Some 1,400 people signed it.

And in an eleventh hour meeting with traders on Tuesday night, council leader Neil Bannister offered an alternative “festive package” costing around £3,000 of 40 lit Christmas trees, plus £100 contribution to each traders’ festive window displays.

Petition organiser Amber Lucas, the manager of Gardner’s Cakery on Church Street said: “We’re not getting our cross-street lights, but this is definitely better than nothing.

“And we’re meeting the council again next year to discuss how we could get our lights back again.”

She added: “I do think the council should have done something earlier in the year about this problem. I don’t think they realised how important the lights are to us and to Market Harborough.”

Conservative leader of Harborough District Council Neil Bannister said: “Whilst we are looking forward to switching on the improved Christmas lights displays in the town centre on Friday, we also understand the disappointment of some businesses that we are unable to put up cross-street lighting in Church Street this year.

“With this in mind, and having listened to local traders, the Council is offering a modest subsidy to help retailers in Church Street create festive displays in their shop windows this year. The Council has also agreed to fund some additional Christmas trees above some independent shops in the town’s high street.”