CHRISTMAS lights will be returning to Burnham-on-Sea despite councillors concerns that the cost to put them up is too high.

At a Burnham and Highbridge Town Council meeting on Monday (September 2) councillors debated plans to spend £6,000 to light up Burnham-on-Sea's streets with Christmas lights and solar powered Christmas trees.

Councillors were told Burnham's Christmas lights could cost the council up to £6,000 depending on the amount of repair work needed to lights the council owns.

But some councillors said they were concerned the council may be asked to give a grant to the Chamber of Trade to help cover the costs of Highbridge's Christmas lights on top of the cost for Burnham's lights.

Cllr Mike Murphy, said: "The estimated cost for these lights is £6,000 and that only covers Burnham's lights.

"We then we may have to give a big grant to the Chamber of Trade as well which tops up the total even more.

"It is totally unreasonable, I don't know what we are playing at. I think this should be looked at, we have a fairly wealthy Chamber of Trade as far as I am aware."

Cllr Helen Groves also shared concerns about the cost and urged the council to think about the financial issues that families are facing.

She said: "The Chamber of Trade does amazing work but this is a problem as the money will be taken from our funds.

"There are residents who will not be able to buy Christmas presents for their children this year, residents who will not be able to put food on the table for their families this Christmas.

"It is having an impact when looking at the financial issues."

Cllr Andy Hodge said Christmas lights mark 'the start of the festive season' in Burnham but he has concerns the council will have to deal with health and safety risks associated with the lights.

And Cllr Dawn Carey said: "I want to see Christmas lights in Burnham and Highbridge as it brings the community together and that is one thing that is important to us.

"It is a lot of money, I think we need to look at other options."

Town clerk Samantha Winter told councillors that funds could be taken from the council's grants budget to cover the cost of the lights.

Cllr Andy Brewer then asked councillors to vote to approve taking funds from the grants budget to fund the Christmas lights in Burnham.

Ten councillors voted in favour of the scheme and eight councillors abstained from the vote.

A spokesman for Burnham-on-Sea Chamber of Trade, said: "We very much welcome the town council's decision to proceed with this year's Christmas lights display in the town centre.

"The lights are vital in creating a 'festive buzz' in Burnham's town centre during the run up to the busiest time of year for our shops.

"The Chamber of Trade has in previous years overseen the installation of the council- owned Christmas light but due to the rising costs of installation and insurance we have passed the role over to the council this year - as happens in Bridgwater and Weston - while we focus on organising the Christmas switch-on itself.

"The lights switch-on event is being planned for Saturday, November 23."