Friday 19 January 2018

The lights go out at Del Boy's flat

Residents at Rodney (left) and Del Boy's block of flats have been caught up in a Christmas lights row
Residents at Rodney (left) and Del Boy's block of flats have been caught up in a Christmas lights row

A row has broken out after Christmas lights were removed on health and safety grounds from council flat tower blocks used in comedy series Only Fools and Horses.

Bristol City Council faced accusations of acting like plonkers after its electricians removed the lights from the front of Whitemead House in Bristol - which starred as Peckham's Nelson Mandela House in the legendary BBC comedy series.

But the council has defended its action, saying the lights which adorn the front of the building and neighbouring blocks were dangerous and could have caught fire.

Shirley Bush, 76, chairman of the Duckmoor Road Residents' Association, which includes the blocks of flats, told the Bristol Evening Post they had been given no warning the lights would be turned off.

She said: "We have had Christmas lights for 23 years. They are very important to the people living here. They look forward to them every year. We pay for them all and people put their hands in their pockets to help.

"But the council have just come and turned them off without any consultation at all. It's health and safety gone mad again. There is real anger about this. Residents feel like the council is destroying their Christmas."

However, the council said that the way the lights had been installed at the flats, near Championship side Bristol City's Ashton Gate stadium, were unsafe. The lights are due to go back on after the council installed new electrics in the block.

A spokesman said: "We did switch off the lights after we found wiring, which had been carried out without permission, raised real safety concerns.

"In two of the blocks, Christmas lights had been wired directly into a ceiling circuit which an electrician considered could potentially blow all the lights in both the blocks. Fires, unfortunately, don't stop at Christmas. In another case, a waterproof socket outside the block was open to the elements because a timer had been plugged in.

"I'm delighted that we have now been able to achieve a swift solution and that residents will again be able to enjoy their communal Christmas lights."

Press Association

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