Dismay at lack of Christmas lights in Leeds community

BRIGHTER TIMES: A previous Headingley lights switch-on.

BRIGHTER TIMES: A previous Headingley lights switch-on.

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A Leeds community is facing a race against time as it tries to put some sparkle back into its Christmas.

Residents and traders in Headingley have been left fuming by a lack of festive decorations on their streets.

The blackout follows the Labour-run city council’s decision not to fund any Christmas lights this year outside the centre of Leeds.

Now, though, Coun Neil Walshaw (Lab, Headingley) has launched a bid to get the suburb twinkling again.

He is appealing for shops and firms to club together over the next few days and come up with cash for some decorations.

Just over £4,000 would pay for the use of 25 sets of lights from the council’s main illuminations stock.

Coun Walshaw’s initiative was welcomed by Headingley resident Brenda Mackintosh, who has previously criticised the area’s lights no-show.

Mrs Mackintosh, 54, said: “We like a bit of cheer here in Headingley and I think we should have some illuminations.”

Individual communities found a variety of ways of paying for their own lights after May’s funding axe announcement by cash-strapped Leeds City Council.

In Garforth, money was secured from a council funding pot for specific schemes in the city’s ‘outer east’ area.

Support for a Cross Gates display came from firms as well as John Smeaton Community College and the local traders’ association.

Asked why it had taken so long for Headingley to get its act together, Coun Walshaw said the issue had only come onto his radar in October.

He said crossed wires at the council meant he was then given the impression it was too late for any illuminations to be arranged.

Coun Walshaw revisited the issue after complaints from residents and discovered some would be available after all if funds could be raised.

Ring 07791 795228 for details on how to back the appeal.

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