Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Saturday, 1 November 2008

Rules chop Christmas tree display

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Christmas is 'cancelled' as health and safety measures make putting decorations up too expensive for Llandovery council

A Christmas tree tradition has been chopped after town councillors were told they could no longer climb ladders to erect festive decorations.

In the past they and a contractor have put up around 60 trees in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, on ledges over shop fronts and above the market hall.

But they have been told they risk breaching health and safety rules.

They say they cannot afford to pay for scaffolding or hire a cherry-picker to conform to the requirements.

Deputy mayor Helene Lovell said: "We will be able to put our main Christmas tree in the town square and decorate our council building but we will not be putting trees up on other peoples' buildings.

"We have been advised that over a certain height we need scaffolding or a cherry picker.

Helene Lovell
Unfortunately we have had to most sincerely apologise to all the businesses
Deputy mayor Helene Lovell

"We are only a small council and we cannot the afford the extra costs so unfortunately we have had to most sincerely apologise to all the businesses that we will not be participating this year."

Contactor Dave Worthington has put most of the trees up for the last three years.

He said: "I think its probably a triumph of bureaucracy over common sense.

"I suppose it's the possibility that one of us could fall but there's a possibility you could fall just crossing the road."

Businesswoman Helen Greenslade said: "It's a tradition that has been in this town for years.

"It's up to us as businesses now to do it ourselves - I will be putting decorations up outside but this thing that the council can't put them is stupid."

Mrs Lovell said she hoped it would not dampen LLandovery's festive look.

"I have every faith that most of the businesses will continue and erect their own Christmas trees."

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