For the past ten years, these sparkling lights have brought a little bit of Christmas cheer to thousands of people.

But the glow from Ian Cameron’s 19th floor balcony has been dampened by the “elf” and safety brigade.

Brighton and Hove City Council claim the lights, which hang from the top floor of Theobald House in Blackman Street, Brighton, could be dangerous and have ordered that they be taken down.

Officers told Mr Cameron they will send an electrician round to check the LED display – but first he and his wife Linda, 53, must pay £80.

The council defended the decision as “not health and safety gone mad” and “common sense”.

It comes just months after the tenants were told they could not leave doormats in the block’s corridors as it was a fire risk.

Mr Cameron, 63, said: “I understand the need to protect the public but this is way over the top."

“I put the lights up to bring people a little bit of Christmas cheer. It makes people happy.

“If it was an issue I don’t understand why they didn’t tell me before.”

Despite the lights hanging for a decade, the local authority said it was not aware of the display in previous years.

The council said that until the test is complete, the lights, which are secured with cable ties to a solid metal balcony, must be taken down.

Mr Cameron said: “I can’t afford £80 (for the test). It already costs me an extra £9 a week in bills to have the lights up.”

A council spokesman said: “This is not health and safety gone mad. It’s common sense.

“We have acted in response to concerns raised by a member of the public.

“Where electric lights are being hung more than 100ft up on the outside of a public building we have a duty to fellow tenants and the general public to make sure they are checked to be safe.

“If the checks show the lights are safe our tenants will be welcome to put them up again.”

Is it “elf” and safety gone mad or common sense? Tell us what you think below or by writing to our letters page.