Red tape fails to dull Christmas sparkle

Kami-Leigh Pope, helped by her mum Brooke Sargent, and Daniel Graham push the plunger.

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The only red tape poeple want to see at Christmas is the sticky stuff used to wrap their gifts.

But Argyll and Bute Council’s has been accused of taking the shine off Campbeltown’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Due to the volunteer-run committee being unable to afford a £3,000 traffic management plan, proposed by Argyll and Bute Council and Police Scotland to ensure the parade could be held safely, there was no traditional Main Street parade at last Friday night’s event. The event was held in Burnside Square instead.

A spokesperson for the committee added that the main feature for this year was to be a ceiling of lights above the square, but that ‘last minute red tape’ from the council meant it, too, could not go ahead.

The committee thanked McFadyens Contractors for its help in planning the feature but provided no further details as to why it could not go ahead.

An Argyll and Bute spokesperson said: ‘Public safety is our top priority. We worked hard to support the Campbeltown Christmas Lights committee to make sure the switch-on happened on November 30, providing the same lighting specification as previous years.

‘There was a proposal to erect a new, bespoke, street lighting feature in Burnside Square. A design was submitted to Roads and Amenity Services on the November 22 2018.

‘Unfortunately the design had insufficient information and had not been certified by a competent person. This type of feature must be structurally sound to ensure the public are not put at risk.’

Although the vibrant and glittery lights illuminated Main Street and Longrow after a ten second countdown, only the twinkly tree lights came on in Burnside Square.

The plunger was pushed by two lucky golden ticket winners, Kami-Leigh Pope, three, and Daniel Graham, 10, who were chosen at random from the numerous people nominated.

They were joined on stage by three visitors from Glasgow’s fictional Craiglang, Still Game’s Jack Jarvis, Victor McDade and Isa Drennan, expertly portrayed by Stephen Gorman, James Ronald and Kay Johnston.

In honour of the St Andrew’s Day date, the event had a Scottish theme, with Saltire flag bunting adorning the stage alongside twinkling Christmas lights, turning it into a double celebration.

Many talented musicians performed on stage throughout the evening.

Teacups and merry-go-round rides from Stewarts Amusements kept the youngsters entertained, and Santa even popped into the nearby Salvation Army citadel to hear what some of them are hoping to get on Christmas day.

Although the committee’s plans did not quite come to fruition, the youngsters seemed to enjoy their evening of entertainments, spent with family and friends, which is what the festive season is all about.