Lights group battles to save Barney's festive display
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
THE volunteer group which organises Barnard Castle’s Christmas lights is hopeful this year’s display can be saved.
Members of Barnard Castle Christmas Lights group were told they would no longer be allowed to take electricity from lampposts to power the annual displays on the front of buildings. Determined to ensure Barney is illuminated, the group came up with an alternative plan. After a public appeal, 11 property owners offered to have electricity sockets installed on their buildings so festoon lighting can be strung and lit.
Roger Peat, from the Christmas lights group, said: “We are looking to take power from 11 properties – however, ten of those properties are listed buildings and we need consent to place the power boxes on the front of the buildings.
“We’re working with Durham County Council’s conservation officer, who has been great, but it all takes time. We’re still hopeful that everything can be achieved, but it’s not a guarantee. Everybody has been helpful and we’re getting there.”
The 240-volt sockets need to be high enough that they can’t be reached from the ground or from windows. It is also important that the sockets don’t detract from the look of the listed buildings.
He added: “We are hopeful that we will get lights up on the buildings.”
What will be guaranteed though is a multi-coloured lighting display on Galgate Green, paying tribute to the efforts of key workers and NHS staff throughout the pandemic.
“We will have the memorial tree decked with multi-coloured lights in the remembrance garden as a mark of respect for all their efforts,” said Mr Peat. A funding bid has been submitted to Teesdale Action Partnership in the hope enough cash can be secured to finance powering the lights, which could be about £15,000.
“It’s a ball park figure,” Mr Peat added. “And that is pulling in a few favours, but it could be more than that to get us back to where we were before we even think about new lights. We are really doing everything we can to make it happen. We’re really grateful for all the support from all the property owners who have helped get us this far.”