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Children's Palmeira Square Christmas switch-on saved from health and safety ban
A children's Christmas lights switch-on has been saved after a council threatened to axe the event over safety fears.
Brighton and Hove City Council was set to cancel the annual festive occasion after deciding it was too dangerous for youngsters to cross a road.
However, the local authority has now said the event will go ahead following a backlash from residents.
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Councillor Ann Norman, for Withdean ward, was one of those who backed the event.
She said: “It’s a victory for common sense.
“This event has been held for years and it really is something special. It’s great for the children involved and also the adults.
“If there was any real danger involved I wouldn’t back it.”
The event sees schoolchildren gather at Hove’s St John’s Church, in Church Road, for a carol concert.
They then make their way to Palmeira Square where they help switch on the Christmas lights.
In the process they have to cross the end section of Western Road.
The council has taken charge of the event in previous years but announced it would no longer be held.
The community group Brunswick Town in Bloom stepped in but was told by the council it couldn’t go ahead for health and safety reasons.
Councillor Norman said: “There are so many parents and teachers there on the day. I can’t understand how there could possibly be a health and safety issue?”
Trisha Gaskell-Watkins, from Brunswick Town in Bloom, entered negotiations with the council which eventually allowed them to use their insurance.
The group are now waiting on confirmation from Sussex Police over the use of a PCSO as a crossing patrol.
She said: “We’re delighted. It’s a lovely event and would have been a real shame if it had been cancelled.
“It’s something for the children to look forward to and we’re really happy it will go ahead this year.”
Youngsters from Hove’s Davigdor Infant School, in Somerhill Road, will have the honour of switching the lights on.
The mayor, coun Denise Cobb, will also be present on November 25 along with the Rotary Club, who will be singing and collecting for the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity.
The church service begins at 3.30pm with the switch-on at 4.15pm.
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