All Brownhills residents wanted for Christmas was lights - but they got 'winter lights' instead

Most towns switch on their Christmas lights weeks ahead of the big day and traditionally take them down on Twelfth Night, however in Brownhills a new tree display is only about to go up - one month late.

All Brownhills residents wanted for Christmas was lights - but they got 'winter lights' instead

And instead of being referred to as festive or Christmas the town's display will be referred to as 'winter lights' instead.

The fir tree on the Miner Island in High Street is normally fully lit up in December. But for the last two years it has only been partially decorated resulting in a dispute between the council and a residents' group.

Incensed members of Brownhills Local Committee claim they forked out £600 for brand new ice blue LED bulbs and wiring for the island in 2012 which resulted in a stunning display. They claim Walsall Council removed it afterwards and it was never brought back.

In 2013 and 2014 a smaller set supplied by the council was put up to decorate part of the tree. This is the current display, but committee members say the town has been treated badly and they should have had a much better display.

Dismayed committee chairman Doug Birch said during last year the group and councillors for the town held talks with town hall staff in a bid to resolve the issue. Funds were eventually allocated to replace the £600 set of bulbs, but it came too late for contractors to carry out the work in time for Christmas.

Brownhills Local Committee chairman Doug Birch said he was annoyed and felt smaller towns had much better lights than Brownhills.

"We are very angry about this. The town has been treated very badly. Our councillors pushed very hard to get us some better lights, but to no avail.

"Eventually, two days before Christmas Eve officers came to us and said they had got the funding for some news lights, but it was too late for the contractors to get them up. They said it will be done this month and the display will be called winter lights instead. We don't think it is good enough at all."

Committee member Barrie Poxon said: "The original council lights were up for about six years, but were condemned."

He claimed the committee bought some replacements and Walsall Council lost them.

"They then put some rubbish lights up, it's absolutely disgusting the way Brownhills has been treated."

Walsall Council's cabinet member for regeneration Councillor Mohammad Nazir said: "The new lights, which are being installed for future use, will look amazing as hundreds of LED bulbs will bring sparkle and light to the Miner's Island. The original lights, which were deemed unsafe and no longer fit for purpose, were removed in preparation for the new scheme."

Councillor Nazir said he was not aware of what happened to the previous lights as the Labour controlled administration has only recently been in power at the council.

Mr Poxon added: "We are disgusted by this. The council is talking nonsense."

The committee said there were some illuminated festive decorations on lampposts along the High Street, but said they were not impressed with them.

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