CHRISTMAS has been cancelled in three villages this year after council Scrooges decided they would no longer taking the responsibility of Christmas lights.

The streets of Lower Brynaman, Tairgwaith and Cwmgors will not be twinkling this festive season as Neath Port Talbot council decided the responsibility of leasing or buying, fitting, maintaining, installation and decommissioning and storing Chrsitmas lights will now fall on the community councils.

This has left Gwaun Cae Gurwen community council in disarray they as attempt to save Christmas in the villages.

Tairgwaith Cllr Len Preece said, to add insult to injury, the council will now have to purchase their own lights, as the ones used last year are no longer fit for purpose.

“The council was told the lights that were used over the previous years did not reach the current standards and that the banner lights that went across the road were unsafe. Therefore we had to start from scratch.”

Chairman of the community council, Cllr Geoff Moore said “Because of the competition for established, reputable companies dealing with Christmas decorations within communities, and the limited time available, the council has had to act quickly.

“We are limited by geography - with four separate settlements within the ward of GCG spread over a fairly wide area.

“We are also limited by regulations as to where we can erect lights as we are not allowed to attach lights to any wooden posts.

“Considering around 90 per cent of posts within the ward are made of wood, this makes it extremely difficult.

“We are also limited by financial resources. The council felt the best way forward was to engage with a company and provide lights similar to last year, but only around GCG.

“This should provide a base starting point, which we hope can be extended over the coming years.”

The cost of Christmas lights accounts for one eighth of the yearly income received by the council.

To purchase new lights as the old ones are unusable would be a great additional expense to the council.

“This is where we will be asking for external help such as sponsorship, ideas and involvement from residents over the coming year to enhance the provision,” Cllr Moore said.

A Neath Port Talbort Council spokesperson said: "Neath Port Talbot Council has not provided Christmas lights for the last three years due to the severity of on-going budget cuts.

"We have had to reduce our budget by more than £77 million since 2010 whilst protecting vital frontline services.

"In doing so we have had to work alongside businesses and the local community to sustain the provision of some services previously delivered by the council.

"As such, local community groups and Town and Community Councils have taken on the role of providing Christmas lights within several areas of the county borough for the past three years."

“We are currently consulting local residents, organisations and businesses on draft proposals detailing how the Council can close a projected budget gap of £10.2m for the coming 2018/19 financial year, and are facing a predicted further £65M reduction over the next five years.”