Christmas lights in an upmarket shopping street were taken down after just three days by council inspectors who branded them a “death trap”.
Primrose Hill Christmas lights turned on by Jo Wood taken down after three days over ‘death trap’ claims
The decorations were put up in Primrose Hill by Jonny Bucknell, the son of the UK’s first DIY television star Barry Bucknell, with a switch-on ceremony on Sunday by model Jo Wood, ex-wife of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie, and singer-songwriter Collette Cooper.
But on Wednesday, Camden council bosses removed and impounded the lights, deeming them a health and safety risk.
Mr Bucknell, a former Camden councillor — whose late father presented a long-running BBC show which popularised DIY in the Fifties — said he was “completely stunned” by the decision.
“I got a phone call from a trader saying they were ripping them down. I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
‘Dangerous’: a tangle of wires in Primrose Hill before they were removed by Camden council, which is hoping to put up alternative decorations
“The council says Christmas lights need a licence — which I do not object to — but we never knew about it. They’ve completely overreacted.
He added: “If they’d just switched them off I wouldn’t have minded, we would have sorted it out in a few days.
“But they’ve gone into a total panic because they aren’t licensed. It’s going to be a very gloomy Christmas.
The switch-on was part of the annual Christmas fair in the north London village.
Inspectors found “electrical terminations in a dangerous condition”, attachments “low enough for children to grab hold of”, and cables simply “strung across the carriageway”, the council said. It also said the event was not licensed.
Councillor Adam Harrison, cabinet member for improving Camden’s environment, defended the action.
He said: “Engineers assessed the lights and did not deem them to be safe. Electrical currents were jumping between these shoddily fixed up lights, which were frankly a death trap for residents.
“We cannot allow people to install dangerous electrics — all such installations need proper testing and permission. We will work with responsible members of the community to ensure decorations which are safe are up soon.
“Camden council puts resident safety at the heart of what we do. This applies as much to our streets as to the action we take to look after residents in dangerous and inadequate housing.”
The council added that it was hoping to install replacement decorations before Christmas.