Tooting shoppers surprised by September Christmas lights


As temperatures soar this week Wandsworth residents are complaining about the lights’ premature arrival.


By Mel Spencer

Shoppers in Tooting are surprised to see what appear to be Christmas lights on display in September.

As temperatures soared to 28 degrees this afternoon, residents removed their sunglasses with surprise to take a closer look at the displays adorning the lampposts.

Locals have even contacted Wandsworth Council to complain about the lights’ premature arrival.

The good news for Scrooges is that despite appearances, the decorations are part of the broader ‘Tooting festive lights programme’ and are not specifically Christmas-themed.

Used for Diwali, the birth date of Guru Nanak, Eid and Christmas, the lights aim to fill locals with a sense of festivity as the evenings grow darker, regardless of their religious beliefs.

 “We call them ‘festive lights’, not because we do not recognise Christmas, but because Tooting is a multi-cultural community which is always celebrating,” said Audrey Helps, Town Centre Manager.

Generic symbols such as giant baubles and stars can be seen on the main streets alongside long strings of smaller lights.

Council tax payers will be pleased to know that the three month display period will have little impact on their wallet: the lights are almost entirely funded by local traders through the Tooting Business Network.

Ms Helps said: “We are very lucky to have such an active generous business community.”

There is no official switch on celebration as the lights are manually turned on at the lamp column, but residents can expect to benefit from the festive atmosphere for at least the next 85 days until Christmas.

Related Articles