Let there be light in Waterlooville – festive sparkle is saved after U-turn

HELPING Cllr Ray Bastin
HELPING Cllr Ray Bastin
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CHRISTMAS lights are set to be put up in Waterlooville town centre in a dramatic U-turn.

There was going to be no twinkle in the town this year as Waterlooville Business Association said it did not have the cash to put up the lights.

But, after reading the article in The News, local councillor Ray Bastin, a retired businessman, was incensed.

He is now arranging for lights to be put up in the trees along London Road.

Cllr Bastin, who plans to hire a set of lights, is planning a big switch-on event between 5pm and 7pm on Saturday, December 3, along with Christmas carols and Santa on his sleigh.

Local MP George Hollingbery is set to press the switch.

Cllr Bastin said: ‘There’s got to be lights.

‘I’m going to do my damnedest to make sure of it.

‘The town centre is bad enough as it is with the empty shops. It looks a mess.

‘There’s still a lot of children who look forward to Father Christmas.

‘A lot of people still want the magic of Christmas.’

He is also urging shopkeepers to put up lights in their windows to create more festive cheer.

As reported in The News, Rosemary Wilson, chairwoman of the Business Association, said the decision for no lights was also influenced by roadworks, which are taking place along the precinct.

The works, which will take 40 weeks and see new paving and street furniture installed, started last month.

But Cllr Bastin said: ‘Nobody seemed to be interested.

‘I can’t just stand back and leave it.

‘I might have to put a lot of it in myself. I am going to be knocking on all the doors.

‘Whatever I can raise, even if it’s a couple of thousand pounds, I’m 98 per cent sure that Havant Borough Council will back it up with another couple of thousand.’

Council officials have already said they would have been prepared to match whatever funds the business association had raised for the lights.

Cllr Bastin is looking for as many organisations and businesses to get involved to make sure December 3 is a storming success.

Call him on (07908) 620368 or email ray.bastin@havant.gov.uk