Alderman looks to knock town's lights out!

A CALL has been made for Ballymoney Borough Council to pull the plug on the town's Christmas lights earlier.

Despite the festive season traditionally ending on Thursday 6 January - 12 days after Christmas Day - the town's illuminations burned brightly the following morning with the Christmas tree still standing at the top of High Street.

UUP councillor Alderman James Simpson was miffed to see the lights flickering when he opened his newsagents on Main Street on Friday morning.

He told the Times he believed the fact the lights have remained on beyond the recognised Christmas period reflects badly on the town for those visiting and also raised concerns of the potential extra costs incurred for ratepayers.

"I think it is unnecessary to have them up until early January," he said.

"They should really be down by January 6 yet they were still on the following day.

"It is unnecessary to have them burning away, especially after the sixth."

The centre of Ballymoney has been lit up since the big switch on by Mayor Bill Kennedy and Santa Claus on Thursday 25 November.

Alderman Simpson continued: "This doesn't convey the most efficient impression of Ballymoney.

"They should be switched off.

"My point is that a vast amount of money is spent on Christmas lights when we can't clear the footpaths of snow and ice.

"We want people to come to Ballymoney then they can't get into town. There is a total lack of will in Ballymoney Council to deal with the problem.

"They decided before Christmas they would clear the footpaths but they haven't decided if they will do so in the future.

"It should be automatic."

A spokesperson for Ballymoney Borough Council said: "Work on taking down lights by our contractor should be commencing anytime soon.

"The norm is for the putting up and taking down of lights over a period outside trading hours so there is as little inconvenience as possible."

The budget for this festive season's lights was 28,900.

The lights were not switched on on Monday.