'Tacky' lights spark taste wars in the suburbs

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The Independent Online

After many compliments about their illuminated Santa trains and lighted icicles, the people in a new housing development at Redcar, Teesside, were delighted.

After many compliments about their illuminated Santa trains and lighted icicles, the people in a new housing development at Redcar, Teesside, were delighted.

But poison-pen letters have accused them of betraying their "position" as owners of detached homes. The letters, signed "The House Doctor", call the decorations "cheap, tacky Poundstretcher crap" and tell residents of one home: "Your house looks like a cross between a bingo hall and a brothel". Another recipient is told: "If you must hang this crap from the outside of your house please stick to one colour."

People in semi-detached homes are "common", says one letter, which ends: "People with less money normally have bad taste". Teesside Police are investigating. Evidence suggests they should be seeking someone in an unadorned, detached house, probably painted one colour.

In Gotherington, Gloucestershire, Carol Knapp, 58, put up a string of white lights for her grandchildren. She received an unsigned letter saying, "We welcome you to our village. Perhaps you have noticed that we foster and enjoy a high level of civic pride in our homes. Unfortunately your dull, ugly front garden and tacky, tawdry lights fail to reflect our village image. Please do what you can to improve matters. Thank you".

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