ARE these the worst Christmas lights in Dorset?

Angry traders in ‘forgotten’ Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, think so.

They have branded the three strands as ‘horrible’ and claim they indicate how little BCP Council cares for their part of town, despite them having to pay hefty business rates.

The New Age Enigma store took to Instagram to vent its fury, saying: “We are just here all lit up for Christmas, unlike Old Christchurch Road which is forgotten after Beales, who have a huge reindeer and beautiful trees put outside and the council leaves us with two strands of 20-year old lights, one of which is not working.

“We have complained about this for years but they have never supported us with anything. You wouldn’t think we have paid massive business rates for the past 29 years! And we also pay for refuse collection.”

Owner Linda White said: “The town centre looks amazing – they have thrown money at it, and it looks great with the lovely plants and trees outside Beales and reindeer the size of a house. But if you look from there up Old Christchurch Road towards our shop all you can see is a poor old string of horrible blue lights which have been there for nearly 20 years.”

She said the road was also blighted by the lack of good quality street lighting, complaining that the vintage-style street lights “just flicker”.

Record shop The Vault said it had been unimpressed with the street scene and owner of Ashes menswear, Kieron Clarke, described it as “looking like nothing is up here”.

He said there had been a fourth strand of the blue lights but that had been taken down and the council had told him they had to “make a special hook” to re-hang them. “But it’s not just Christmas,” he said. “It’s quite dark up here all year round because some of the street-lights don’t work and the standing ones just flicker.”

He said traders had also begged the council to get rid of the raised beds which surround the standing lights.

“Basically they are just big ash-trays. They are hideous and we wish they’d go,” he said.

BCP Council said: “We were made aware of a set of lights that weren’t working at the top of the pedestrianised part in Old Christchurch Road, but these have now been fixed.

“Our exciting Christmas Tree Wonderland Trail is now open across Bournemouth and as last year it includes Horseshoe Common and Lansdowne Roundabout, with the suggested route taking you to the top of Old Christchurch Road.

“Not only does this encourage people on the trail to explore parts of Bournemouth they might not normally visit, but to also help boost footfall during this important time of year.”