Beacon fury - ‘no regrets’

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FYLDE Council says it has “no regrets” over not lighting a beacon for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, which sparked a storm of protest.

Some 200 people turned up at Fairhaven Lake expecting the beacon there to be officially lit – but they were left bitterly disappointed when the ceremony did not happen last Monday night.

In fact, it was never intended to go ahead and the council blamed the confusion on a misunderstanding in connection with a beacon website.

Just down the road in Warton, the parish council organised a beacon lighting for residents.

Last week the council said the Fairhaven beacon could not be lit due to “maintenance issues”.

A council spokesman said “We don’t regret not having lit it. People were very enthusiastic about the Jubilee. There were many celebrations all over the borough.

“We don’t think it would have added to anything. We supported the celebrations with road closures for street parties.

“There was a website which said the beacon was to be lit. The website contacted us about six months ago and we said it may be lit – we were still thinking of plans for the Jubilee and our error was in then not going back to the website to ensure they had not misinterpreted it.

“It appears they had taken it as a definite.”

He added: “We never said the beacon would be lit at Fairhaven. In fact the question was asked the week before on the Fylde Community Forum website and it was made clear the beacon would not be lit.

“We haven’t misled people – although we commiserate with those who did turn up.

“We have identified where a communication error was made between staff some months earlier and a decision has been taken to ensure this will not happen again and we have apologised.

“There had been interest from other organisations to either light that beacon or alternative beacons in the area and we didn’t want to detract from that. Their plans didn’t materialise so we went back to plan A not to light it.”

But reader Chris Dyson, from Ansdell, said: “Why on earth would Fylde Council plan on lighting their beacon on a national night of lighting beacons?

“Could they tell us what the beacon is actually for?

“Is it to warn us of impending invasion?”