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Devon village forced to turn off its "higgledy-piggledy" Christmas lights following complaint

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

By SIAN DAVIES @sdaviesherald


Stephen Earp from the Royal Oak pub

Comments (3)

A DEVON village forced to turn off its “higgledy-piggledy” lights following a health and safety complaint has had Christmas saved.

The Christmas tree outside the Royal Oak pub at Meavy, near Yelverton, was donated by villagers and lit via cables suspended from a garage across a country lane.

But Devon County Council said the cabling, which was plugged into a private garage, went up the gable end of a house, through an oak tree then over the other side of the Christmas tree, was “higgledy-piggledy” and not particularly safe.

Pub landlord Stephen Earp said he didn't think the cabling was dangerous and that “the Grinch has taken away Christmas. How sad in this season of goodwill”.

Now a lighting company has offered to donate some solar lights to help the village get Christmas back on track.

The council was contacted by a concerned local resident on Saturday, and the issue was investigated by a highways officer, recommending that the community install solar-powered lights or a 12 volt battery.

But Martin Bud, who runs Solar Spots, has come to the rescue after hearing about Meavy’s plight all the way up in Lancashire.

He will send solar lights to the village to help the tree sparkle once more.

Mr Bud said: “I read the story and thought I have got some solar lights they can make good use of.

“I normally sell the lights online so they can be sent out in the next couple of days.”

Mr Earp said: “We’re just a group of festive-spirited individuals, the Parish Council didn’t object initially to the tree, and the wire was more than 5 metres above the road but we weren’t aware we had to seek permission.

“We put the tree up on Saturday and had a complaint that day.

“The council dealt with it and we had a phone call asking us to turn them off.

“A lot of people are upset about the lights being taken off.

“The cable was all put up correctly but we hadn’t applied for permission from the council, which has a 28 day turnaround.

“We have had an offer of some solar lights from a company who saw the story and wanted to donate them.

“So it has all ended well - the Grinch didn’t steal Christmas for long.”

A Devon County Council spokesman said regulations for cabling suspended over the highway were intended to keep people safe.

He said: “We are very happy for people to put up Christmas trees in their communities.

“In this case, a conversation with local residents was needed just to make the lights were safe following a call from concerned residents.

“We have suggested an alternative solution with the local pub landlord such as solar lights or a 12 volt battery to power the lights and both agreed that this would be preferable.

“Any cable crossing a public highway must maintain an absolute minimum clear height above the carriageway, which must be just over 5m.

“In this instance the height was not an issue, but it was felt the cabling was a bit higgledy-piggledy and not particularly safe.”

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  • toffer99  |  December 11 2013, 5:10PM

    "Higgledy-Piggledy". Well, Devon County Council spokesman, I suppose this is a technical electrical term, is it?

    Rate   5
  • JeremyBadger  |  December 11 2013, 4:31PM

    Another "Do Gooder" ruining the enjoyment of hundreds of people. What a ****!

    Rate   11
  • Nikgee  |  December 11 2013, 4:24PM


    Rate   5