The Parish Council faces a number of challenges each year to bring you, the residents of Downswood, the festive lighting.
In order to obtain an annual license, Kent Highways require full details of the proposal; including the size & weight of each motif and the number & location of which column it will be assigned. In addition, every three years each street column is required to undergo a load test to ensure it can withstand the extra weight of a motif. (Bearing in mind, that the columns are originally designed to only hold a lantern).
Even new columns can fail a load test and once identified as a failure, we are unable to use the column until the next time that it’s tested. The process is expensive with the cost for 2021 quoted at £1,485.
Four columns were originally identified as failing this year and with the restrictions that were placed on a further 22 columns, this meant that only 4 of the requested 28 columns could be used.
However, we have been working with Kent Highways to find a way to ensure that Downswood can still enjoy its festive lighting and with help from Cllrs Gary Cooke & David Brazier and Aylesford Electrical, we are pleased to report that the lights will be going ahead with just 3 columns unused.
Unfortunately, the Orchard Spot roundabout will not be able to display the usual ‘Enchanted Tree’ motif and will hold a much smaller, lightweight display.
The lights will be switched on at the Christmas Carols and Lights Ceremony which will take place at 4 pm at the Community Centre on 4 December.
We hope that you enjoy the lights and would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.