SWANSCOMBE High Street Christmas lights are to be taken down before they have even been turned on – because of health and safety risks.

Swanscombe and Greenhithe Town Council (SGTC) wrote on its website that the lamp posts it had attached the lights to are “code red” and cannot take the weight of the lights.

It was told this by Kent County Council which is currently carrying out a structural survey on all lamp columns in Kent.

KCC said: “Code red means that the street light column has a defect which cannot be repaired and therefore cannot have any additional weight added to the column”.

The lights were due to be switched on in December.

The town council said: “As a responsible town council, and not wanting to place people or property in any danger, the town council acted on KCC's advice and arranged for the Christmas lights to be removed for this year.

“The town council wanted to assure the residents that once KCC has resolved their issue with their columns, and the columns are replaced, the long-standing tradition enjoyed by everyone of Christmas lighting in Swanscombe High Street can continue next year.”

It added: “The town council has submitted its concerns regarding the possibility of areas being left in darkness for long periods of time to KCC and is awaiting its response”.