Town shuns tree over light fear

Alan Mills in front of the Market House in Rothwell
Alan Mills in front of the Market House in Rothwell

The fear of festive lights being stolen or vandalised has forced one town to forgo its traditional Christmas tree for the first time.

Residents of Rothwell will go without a tree after town councillors expressed their fears that lights on lower branches would be at risk of being taken or broken.

And they decided a mostly bare tree would look worse than none at all.

In previous years the Christmas tree stood on Market Hill Square, in front of the Market House in the town centre.

This year live trees and shops will be lit up with new LED lights, which could stay on as late as February and which have been rebranded “winter lights”.

Alan Mills, a town and Kettering borough councillor, said: “People have said we were being ‘bah humbug’.

“But we are looking forward to the town being illuminated with our new lights.”

Clerk to the town council Carolyn Mackay said that although the new display would be different, it would still dress the town up festively and might even be an improvement on past arrangements.

She said: “All the permanent trees in Squires Hill should have lights on.

“But the Christmas tree used to obscure the Market House. It didn’t really match all the other trees in the town and it wasn’t totally appropriate.”

Mrs Mackay said the town council would take on board what Rothwell residents made of the experiment before deciding what to do in subsequent years.

She added: “We will see what people think about the new lights.

“But we still think it will be a very good display.”