THE illuminated sign that welcomes visitors to Bournemouth has been out of action for more than a week because of problems with the electricity supply.

The £76,000 ‘Welcome to Bournemouth’ sign on the A338 Spur Road stopped working last week, along with other street lighting in the section of road between Blackwater Junction and the Cooper Dean roundabout.

Bournemouth council said it had contacted Scottish and Southern Energy, which had promised to rectify the problem by Thursday.

The controverstial greeting sign was put up last August and is intended to create a sense of arrival for people driving into Bournemouth.

At the time Bournemouth council’s Labour leader Cllr Ben Grower branded the sign a “flight of fancy” and a waste of money when cuts were being made elsewhere.

With Cllr Lawrence Williams, cabinet member for tourism, leisure and culture, saying: “First impressions are everything and this is why it’s important to make the gateway into our town as welcoming as possible.

“This type of signage makes a statement about our resort and the community it represents as well as a significant contribution to the way the area is perceived.”

He added: “Tourism is worth over £600million to the local economy. We are proud of our town and the new signage is a great way to greet people coming to spend time here.”