Seafront lights to be dark this year


SOME lights along Bognor Regis will be switched off this summer.

The volunteers who install and maintain the illuminated displays have decided to leave a selection of them in the dark.

A lack of finance and the need for new fittings has led to their decision.

Greg Burt said half of the 14 spiral displays between West Street and Gloucester Road would not be put on in the coming months.

None of the 20 illuminations along Marine Drive West nor those in Waterloo Square will be lit.

“This is an uncertain time for us,” he said. “The lights will be extended westwards again. We will build them back up again.

“We decided to concentrate on the main seafront which is where they are mostly seen.”

The group began its work in 1997 and fundraised to expand to more than 70 displays over some two miles from Hotham Park along to West Park.

But the seafront conditions, the imminent installation of new street lamps and the soaring cost of electricity means a revamp is needed.

“The new street lights going in is an opportunity to look at the old displays. A lot of spirals are 240 volts and are coming to the end of their life. They cost a lot to run and a lot to keep going.

“Our electricity bill is £3,000 a year.”

But it would cost £11,000 to replace all the ageing displays at once, though Bognor and Felpham councils helped out with grants.

Mr Burt said the group decided to concentrate its resources on fewer displays this year to enable more money to be put aside sooner for new fittings.

Those around Waterloo Square, installed for the Queen’s golden jubilee in 2002, were set to be replaced by strings of lights.

The uncertainty about the new street lights being installed and the lack of some displays means a switch on ceremony will not be held this month.

“The lights will just go on when we are able to put them on,” he said.

This follows last year’s cancelled switch on ceremony. It was scrapped by the lights group in the days after Bognor’s senior police officers objected to it taking place on the same weekend at the University of Chichester’s students’ rag week.