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Dartmouth Hotelier set to pay to take down town lights

Hotelier Nigel Way is faced with finding £750 of his own cash to haul down Dartmouth’s new Christmas lights – long after the Twelfth Night – because the town council won’t do it.
Mr Way headed up a fundraising campaign to buy the lights, gave them to the town council and even used his own cash to help pay to have them put up.
But so far town councillors are refusing to shell out public money to take them down.
The lights in Duke Street were still in place at the beginning of this week.
But Mr Way said he had found a local contractor to take the lights down.
He added: ‘Somebody has got to fund it and it will probably be me. I am not sure yet.’
He said it was possible that a second fundraising ball could be held some time this year to help pay to put the lights back up again for next Christmas this year.
‘I am hoping that the Business Improvement Dist­rict might be able to find some money to help and also hoping that the town council will help. I am hoping that everyone will collaborate on something like this.’
He added: ‘I said I would buy them and I said I would put them up but I never said I would take them down.
‘I was hoping that the town council would pay for that because they are their lights – but it wasn’t to be.
‘I honestly can’t comment on the town council. I am keen that we all work together for the good of Dartmouth and this is not going to put me off.
‘I am going to carry on knocking on doors so we can all work together for a better town and we want the town council to be part of that.’
Mr Way and a group of local business people got together last November to hold a ball which raised £8,500 to buy new sets of Christmas lights for the town.
There was so little infrastructure, such as wires and timers for the new lights, that it cost as much to put them in place as it did to buy the lights – and the extra cost was found by Mr Way.
He promptly handed the lights to the town council – which also spent £6,000 of its own cash lighting up parts of the town for Christmas last year.
But town councillors made it clear that while they were prepared to take ownership of the new lights, for insurance reasons they wanted no part in putting them up or taking them down.
A council spokesman revealed this week that the Royal Avenue Gardens lights and the Christmas tree were coming down this week.
But she added: ‘The removal of the other lights are nothing to do with us.
‘Mr Way organised the new lights and raised the money for their purchase and he has organised having them put up and is organising having them taken down.’
Mr Way said he and the business community had organised the Christmas lights fundraiser after it was discovered that the business plan of the BID – which Mr Way chairs – had no facility for spending money on new Christmas lights for the town.
‘I decided that we needed to have Christmas lights otherwise I would have been severely castigated as chairman of the BID,’ he said.
He said that once the new lights were down, they would be handed to the town council. He added: ‘They are going to look after them because they are theirs.’

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