MORE than a year after a section of Christmas lights came crashing down in St Neots, the town council is still refusing to reveal what went wrong. St Neots Town Council has refused numerous requests to make public the findings of its report into the acc
MORE than a year after a section of Christmas lights came crashing down in St Neots, the town council is still refusing to reveal what went wrong.
St Neots Town Council has refused numerous requests to make public the findings of its report into the accident in which a section of cross-street Christmas lights fell from a building and injured passers-by.
The council has also refused a Freedom of Information request from The Hunts Post asking for the report into the incident in St Neots High Street in November 2007 to be made public.
Responding to the request, deputy town clerk Helen King said it had been refused under Section 43 of the act - a section exempting information which would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of the authority or another person.
No further reason for the refusal have been given - despite the Freedom of Information Act stating that public bodies must give reasons as to why the exemption applies.
Councillors have told The Hunts Post that the report will be made public "soon" but others have claimed they have been gagged from talking about any aspect of the accident.
The metal structure fell from the wall on November 29, 2007, pulling masonry with it and hitting a passing car and pedestrians. It also narrowly missed a baby in a pushchair.
Two people were injured. Anne Beck, who had been walking along the High Street with her baby Myles, and her friend, Elena Giddens.
Following the accident, Mrs Beck told The Hunts Post: "I was pushing my seven-month-old child in his pram when I heard a loud rumble and the next thing I knew we were being showered with bricks and rubble.
"It all happened so quickly - everything came crumbling down and the lights were swinging in the road. It was all very upsetting"
The mother of three described how she dived on top of the pram to protect Myles and both herself, and Mrs Giddens pushed the pram forward out of the way of the falling rumble.
Mrs Giddens, 39, was knocked to the ground unconscious by a piece of falling rubble.
Both woman, of Eynesbury Manor, were taken to Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon and treated for minor injuries.
A Health and Safety Executive investigation was launched and is still ongoing.
However, a spokesman for HSE has said its investigation would not be influenced by St Neots Town Council's report. He added that the HSE report should be available in a couple of months.
Speaking to the Hunts Post, St Neots town councillor Julia Hayward said she hoped the report would be made available to the public soon.
"As a matter of principle I would expect the report to be made public as soon as possible, of course everyone has a right to know.
"I understand, though, that there are still some legal issues that need to be tied up first, and it is very frustrating that it is taking so long."
INFORMATION: Is it unacceptable for a year to pass without any answers being given about the Christmas lights accident? What do you think? E-mail your views to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE29 3TB.