Project: Village Christmas Lights

6/12/12 It is with enormous pleasure that I can say – Knaphill has Christmas lights! Erica has pulled it off and after many months of dialogue, haranguing, negotiating and lets be honest – stress, the final pieces in the Christmas lights project have been put in place. I hope you will all thank Erica and everyone involved for this fantastic effort. Please do take the time to leave a little comment below too!

There is also a short Q&A piece for the project so if you have a question please send it over.

 

Who remembers all the lovely lights we had in the village at Christmas time 2011? No? Well the reason for that is because we didn’t have any. In 2010 there was an 8ft tree in the grounds of the old library that while lovely took a massive effort to put in place, largely not helped by council and highway rules. This was initiated jointly between the KRA and Knaphill Baptist Church with the Church ending up finishing the project (they bought the tree, organised the location AND insured it! Many thanks). But it got there and, despite the orange tape all around (insurance requirement – just in case someone ran into the branches, having deviated 5 metres off the pavement and into the old library garden), it was a cheerful reminder of the season.

So, to 2012. The Mayans say the world will end. However, at the KRA, we like to think it won’t and we have launched a project to get a proper set up for Christmas lights in the village centre for use year on year!

Headed up by Erica Higham, work so far has included trying to establish just who is responsible for what in terms of council and highways laws, rules and regulations. It is blindingly hard work! No-one on the council will answer a question as presumably no-one has responsibility for christmas lights outside of the town centre. Fair enough, but they could be more helpful… Surrey Highways also like to say no. I think it’s a knee jerk reaction to be honest but the combined effect had actually had some benefit – it’s narrowed the options considerably!

We considered several options at first – a big tree, lights in the trees growing by the road and lights between or on street lights. We got shot down on all counts because there isn’t anywhere we can reliably place a Christmas tree year on year (when the old library is eventually sold, that will be the entrance), we aren’t allowed lights in trees by the road despite pretty much every single other town and village in the country being able and we also aren’t allowed to mount or take power from the street lights, again unlike most other towns and villages.

Anyway, not to be deterred we looked to other options and have settled on the potential for wall mounted brackets, with small trees in with lights. To date, that is as far as that option has taken us and it is subject to permissions from building owners / leaseholders, planning, and probably a huge number of other obstacles not yet uncovered. We have had good communication with Cllr Diana Smith and the Churches appear to be very supportive of the project so with fingers crossed, a blessing, a fair wind and the planners distracted by Brookwood (joking!) we just might have lights this year.

 

Our Happy Helpers for this project!

Complete list of those who have helped in any capacity (and please forgive the Editor if he’s forgotten or omitted anyone!) –

Erica Higham (Project Leader), Phil Stubbs (Secretary), Michael Wand, Fraser Hills, Alastair Hills, Cllr Diana Smith, Cllr Saj Hussain, All participating shop / business owners and landlords who gave permission and/or donated to the project, Debbie Harlow, Andy Hills (IT & Editor), Rev. Richard Sherlock, Rev. Nick Grew, John Butler (Chairman), Knaphill Athletic FC

Special mention to the Local Committee (Woking) for awarding £1100 in grant money to part fund the project (Yes folks, this really has cost a lot!)