PETERSFIELD’S High Street became a winter wonderland when hundreds crammed around The Square to watch the Christmas lights switch on.
But the mood has been more humbug than happy on Lavant Street as a muted zig-zag of “pathetic” coloured lights that doesn’t go the distance has left some traders in the dark and feeling forgotten.
“I’m hugely disappointed by the lack of festive cheer to welcome those arriving in Petersfield by train,” said Lucy Lomax, who runs the Community Hub at Petersfield Railway Station.
“Previously I’ve been blown away by stunning Christmas lights on Lavant Street and it’s sad this isn’t the case this year. It’s especially disappointing for the independent shop keepers who put so much effort into creating the street’s identity."
Georgie Watts, deputy manager of Sew Creative, said her stretch of the road is literally in the dark.
“It’s a shame they don’t put the Christmas lights the whole way up as Lavant Street.
"We’ve got so many beautiful small businesses, so many shops and lovely restaurants. It’s a lot more up and coming but we don’t have anything, the lights just stop. I feel like we miss out.”
Midway along Lavant Street is the Tattoo Lounge. Owner Geoff Richardson owner called the lights “pretty awful”.
He said: “It’s quite disappointing, especially over the festive season.
"I wouldn’t even put them on my house, they’re quite pathetic really.
“It brings joy seeing Christmas lights and decorations but there seems to be a complete lack of effort this year. It just seems like Lavant Street has been forgotten about yet again.”
Petersfield Town Council has spent more than £20,000 on Christmas lights and says any additions will add to the cost, with competing demands for its limited budget.
Tenders are sought every three years to give different firms the opportunity to present their lighting portfolios.
The council said Lavant Street’s “festoon” lights take advantage of existing zig-zag wires while buses have to be taken into account. There is limited opportunity for more cross-street wiring because of the varying building heights.
They added: “The ‘ceiling of lights’ which has lit up Lavant Street in previous years, proved popular, and we will explore the option with our contractors to re-introduce it in future years.
“A few years ago, we afforded shops the opportunity to purchase and install small illuminated Christmas trees in the flag pole holders along Lavant Street, Chapel Street, High Street and around the Square, and we hope to see these displayed again this year.”