RESIDENTS in Burnham-on-Sea's famous Trinity Close will not be putting on a lights display for charity this year after safety issues were raised by a council safety group.

Representatives from Sedgemoor District Council's Safety Advisory Group (SAG) said that holding a charity collection at the lights display means it will be categorised by the council as 'an event' which could lead to insurance consequences.

The group also said they will not support residents using yellow traffic cones in Trinity Close this year unless residents take liability for any accidents caused by their use.

Since its inception nearly two decades ago, the annual Trinity Close Christmas lights display has helped to raise more than £109,000 for local charities.

In a letter, which was distributed by Trinity Close residents to their neighbours, the residents said they will not be hosting a lights display on the street for charity but lights will be displayed by people living on the street for their 'personal enjoyment.'

Bridgwater Mercury:

The lights display in Trinity Close last year

The letter said: "For the past few years yellow cones have been used on Trinity Rise, Pizey Avenue and into Mountbatten Close to restrict parking during December.

"Initially this was done after consultation with the local police who lent us yellow no-parking cones hoping to improve pedestrian safety and access to homes.

"However, this year the Sedgemoor District Council Safety Advisory Group (SAG) has passed on a statement from a member of Somerset Highways Department saying that they cannot condone the use of cones, affirming that... "should an incident occur as a result of your actions, (placing of cones), you could be held liable.

"Therefore, those of us in Trinity Close will not be putting any yellow cones out this year. It is worth noting, however, at no point has SAG made any other suggestions for improving public safety or access to our homes.

"SAG describes the display of lights on private homes with the provision of a charity collection box as 'an event.'

"In order to avoid the ramifications that accompany an event there will be no advertised switch-on, no media involvement at our instigation, no collecting box and the switching on and off will be individual to each resident.

"In short, there will be no Trinity Lights display for charity this year. However the lights will be displayed by those who do them for personal enjoyment."

Bridgwater Mercury:

A copy of the letter which was sent by residents living in Trinity Close

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council said the advice SAG gave to Trinity Close residents is 'well intended' and they would be happy to work with the event's organisers in the future.

“We’ve always been pleased to support the residents of Trinity Close with their fantastic Christmas display and worked with them last year to implement permanent traffic orders to help improve the parking situation.

“As the display has grown in popularity we have provided advice through the Sedgemoor Safety Advisory Group to ensure they are aware of potential consequences and liabilities.

"This advice is well intended and we are happy to work with the organisers to support their plans for the future.”

A spokesperson for BARB Search & Rescue, which has previously benefitted from funds raised at the display, said: "This is disappointing news for a small, independent local charity like us where the funds raised really have made a big difference to us over the past few years.

"However, we fully respect and understand the decision and thank the residents for their much-appreciated support."