Weymouth 'disco sticks' seafront lights work to start

An artists's impression of how the seafront lights will look Image copyright Dorset Coast Forum
Image caption An artist's impression shows the lighting scheme imitating sunrise

Controversial coloured lights, likened to "naff disco sticks" by critics, are to be installed on a resort's seafront.

Computer-controlled LED strips will be attached to 29 lamp-posts on Weymouth's promenade.

Dorset Coast Forum said the design was "truly impactful", while online critics have described the strips as "hideous" and "totally naff".

The £265,000 scheme was due to be installed in the spring, but funding has only just been agreed.

Image copyright Brian Marshall
Image caption The seafront's fairy lights were removed in time for the 2012 Olympics

The moving lights, designed by architects Tonkin Liu, can be programmed to "mimic [the] weather or sparkling sand," according to the forum's online presentation.

The council-funded body, which promoted the scheme, said the final design had been "toned down" because of residents' fears that the displays might be too "jazzy" or "frantic".

But it said the scheme has attracted mixed comments in online forums and on social media.

One critic, commenting on the online presentation, said: "These look hideous. I'd honestly prefer nothing than these disco sticks."

Co-ordinator Natalie Poulter said: "It's designed to provoke comment and provoke thought. Most people do not hate the design."

Image copyright Stephen Banks
Image caption The fairy lights were replaced by laser beams costing £465,000

The government has contributed £200,000 through a previously-announced Coastal Communities grant.

Dorset Council, Weymouth Town Council and Weymouth's Business Improvement District have agreed to make up the shortfall.

The town council has set aside initial annual maintenance costs of about £1,000, the forum said.

The resort's original fairy lights cost £8,000 a year to maintain by the time they were replaced for the 2012 Olympics by a £450,000 laser display.

Weymouth Town Council said it would consider the lasers' future in the coming months.

Ms Poulter said a contractor would be assigned with a view to beginning work in September.

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