Family banned from displaying Christmas lights over 'slippery grass'

Family banned from displaying Christmas lights over 'slippery grass'
Christmas lightsWuzupNigeria

A family who have covered their home in Christmas lights for more than 20 years say they have now been banned over health and safety fears – including 'slippery grass'.

The Cliffords have spent two decades spreading cheer in the village of Feock with elaborate illuminations over and outside their house.

Their festive display on their garden and a communal area has lit up their cul-de-sac since 1996 – with people coming from miles away to see it.

It includes a version of the famous Christmas Coca Cola lorry, Santa's sleigh, a fairy castle and Rudolph.

Roger Clifford, 73, wife Elizabeth, 71, and son Ryan, 28, took a year off last year because of the pandemic.

But this year they say a housing officer for Cornwall Housing, which owns the surrounding land, visited and told them they can't do it anymore.

Roger says the officer cited "ridiculous health and safety reasons like slippery grass", as well as light pollution.

Fuming Roger said: "We have had no problems from anyone else previously but a new housing officer has come in and told us no.

''We are just wound-up really and gobsmacked."

He went on to add: "The main reason the council banned it was light pollution but we turn them off at 9pm every day.

''We always cut the grass before we put up the display.

'The other reason was people walking on the communal grass taking mud onto the paths causing a slip hazard.

"But the paths are covered in leaves, green moss and algae.

''They're slippery as anything anyway without any mud on them – they don't do anything about that.

''I think I've seen them cleaning the paths once in about two years.

"The other reason was that they need access to cut the grass – well it hasn't been cut for six months as it is, so why they would do it at Christmas I will never know.

''We always cut the grass before we put up the display.

"And the other thing was that it's a fire hazard. Well a couple of years ago we had the fire brigade round and they inspected it. reports

''The only thing they wanted was the electrics fenced off a bit more, which we did. For anyone to get to the electrics, they'd have to climb over a fence.

"The council have not had a problem in the past, they've even come out and looked at them – not to complain, but to look at the show.

"I think the new council officer is the problem. I feel disappointed for all the people who come out and look at it."

Cornwall Housing is part of Cornwall Council.

A spokesperson for Corserv Ltd, the umbrella term for the group of Cornwall Council-owned businesses overseeing areas such as housing, engineering and more, said: “The communal area where Mr Clifford wishes to display some of his Christmas lights is owned by Cornwall Council and managed by Cornwall Housing Ltd.

"The size and placement of the lights and wooden decorations on the communal area could pose a risk to anyone who may use the pathways in Elm Grove.

"We are expected to ensure that all communal areas are kept free of hazards and risks, in case they are needed as a means of escape in the event of an emergency, so we would not be encouraging the erection of this festive display in this location.

"However, we are happy work with Mr Clifford to find an alternative solution.”

The decision has caused upset from locals and on social media.

Helen Dunn wrote: "The council worker must be on this year's naughty list so he's spoiling it for everyone else too.''

And Lorraine Harris said: "What is the matter with people. Stand up for your rights. Don't let them win. Start a campaign."

Not everyone was disappointed, however. One man wrote: "Why do people do this every year? Utterly pointless waste of electricity."

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