CHRISTMAS-LOVERS were left “disappointed” after the city centre Christmas lights were not extended further down the High Street.

The festive season in Colchester was kickstarted on Wednesday evening.

There was a Christmas light parade which walked from Firstsite, past the Colchester Castle and towards the Mercury Theatre.

As the parade took place the Christmas lights in the city centre were turned on.

However, despite plans to extend the lights from the British Heart Foundation and St Nicholas Hotel down the High Street to the GreyFriars Hotel and Restaurant, this did not happen.

One resident said they were “disappointed” not to see the planned extension.

Gazette: Busy - a packed out city centre for the Christmas lights switch-on eventBusy - a packed out city centre for the Christmas lights switch-on event (Image: Stephen Johnson)

Colchester Council has told The Gazette it encountered an “unexpected delay” due to the need for “special permission” to install the new lights on the Grade II listed buildings.

A spokesman said: “We are aware of the disappointment expressed by some visitors that the Christmas lights have not yet been extended to the Greyfriars Hotel.

“We understand their frustration and would like to assure them we are working diligently to address the situation.

“Unfortunately, we have encountered an unexpected delay due to the need for special permission from Historic England to install the lights on the Grade II listed buildings.

“These buildings require different catenary fittings than the ones used on the rest of the High Street, and Historic England must carefully review and approve the installation plans to ensure the preservation of these historic structures.”

The council also said it is working with Gala Lights, which installs the lights, and is “hopeful they will be installed and operational as soon as possible”.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this delay may cause and appreciate the patience and understanding of residents and visitors” it added.

It is not the only complaint made by residents in response to the city’s Christmas event.

Some visitors raised concerns about overcrowding meanwhile others were left disappointed after a fireworks display was cancelled at the eleventh hour because of health and safety fears due to high winds.

Despite the complaints, Natalie Sommers, Colchester Council’s portfolio holder for communities, said the event was “a resounding success”.