Award-winning balcony all lit up for Christmas - as council says it must be torn down
The balcony, on Lilac Street, has become well-known in Hollingwood after winning the ‘best Christmas decorations’ award twice in a row, in 2021 and 2022. This year’s decorations were officially lit up on Friday, December 1, after four days of hard work – with reindeers, Santa, candy canes and more.
Chesterfield Borough Council asked Mark Strong, who owns the balcony, to take it down in September as it crosses the boundary of the garden.
Since then Mr. Strong has launched a petition in a bid to save the structure – with over a thousand residents signing it in just a few weeks.
He explained to the council that the balcony has been in place for about five years – which means it could possibly be saved under the four-year planning rule, which allows legitimising unlawful developments that have been in place without planning permission for at least four years.
The balcony was first built in 2018 by Mr Strong’s brother Jay, grandson Bradley and dad, Philip, who sadly passed away earlier this year and the balcony serves as a memorial for him.
Chesterfield Borough Council said it would continue to work with Mr Strong. The authority said the construction encroaches into land owned by the council which is allocated as public open space and it was constructed without the council’s permission.
Commenting on this year’s decorations, Mr Strong said: “When the council got in touch with us to take the balcony down we were upset as it was the last thing our Dad did before he died in January. That’s why we decided to take them on with the petition of paper signatures and later online which overall got over 1,000 signatures in the end.
“We think the Christmas decorations this year are just wonderful. We always try our best to improve each year, but we really pushed the boat out for our dad this time and we dedicate this year’s Christmas decorations to him.”