WHEN Wellington will host its Christmas lights switch-on event was a hot topic of conversation at its latest meeting.

Cllr Mark Lithgow proposed the annual event be held on the fifth Saturday before Christmas this year, something he claimed the town's independent retailers were keen for.

But the November 23 diary date struck a nerve with some councillors, who wanted to see the event held on the first 'Saturday of Advent' to ensure the event remains about the spirit of Christmas.

Cllr John Thorne said: "It's about Christmas, it's not about making money.

"Traders in the town say they need the five Saturdays up to Christmas in order to survive the rest of the year.

"Something is wrong with that business model if that is the case.

"It's only one week sooner but I still would not support it.

"The fourth Saturday before Christmas is still in November."

Cllr Vivienne Stock Williams echoed his concerns.

She said: "I don't support it.

"It should be on the first Saturday of Advent.

"If it goes ahead call it Wellington light switch-on, don't call it Christmas. Last year the council agreed to host its event earlier, on November 24, a change Cllr Lithgow said he received 'no complaints about'.

He said: "We had the same discussion last year.

"We decided to listen to the traders and we didn't have any complaints.

"Lots of them said 'thank you' for supporting the town.

"We are here for the people of Wellington."

New town councillor Dean took a different approach to the issue.

He said holding the event later in the year would mean the lights use less electricity in the long-run than if they were switched on in November.

Mayor of Wellington, Janet Lloyd, said: "It's a perennial issue. We have this debate every year.

"It should be about Christmas and Advent."

Although the council voted not to hold the event on November 23, they have not set an official date when the event would be held.