Businesses in Headington say they feel let down after failing to get a city council grant for their Christmas lights.

The council supplies more than £30,000 to help pay for the city centre lights but refused to give Headington community members £500.

The money would have gone towards putting up Christmas lights along London Road.

Neil Holdstock, of traders’ association Headington Business, said local firms had now put up the money themselves.

He said: “It just shows the city council’s lack of support for the suburbs.

“Local businesses have had to pay £3,000 towards Headington’s Christmas lights.

“We have also had to jump through bureaucratic hoops just to get permission for them.”

The city council said the group’s grant application did not focus enough on the community benefit of the lights, which will cost £6,000 this year.

But Mr Holdstock, whose group works with community organisation Headington Action to fund the lights, said: “Of course they are for the benefit of the whole community.

“Headington is the main route into Oxford from London. We feel very let down.”

City council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “The grants panel felt that their application focused primarily on the scheme details with a commercial benefit.

“We also felt that the Headington Action group could raise sufficient funds themselves or via local businesses, which is what we understand has now happened.”

Funding comes from a wide range of sources including Oxford Brookes University. Headington Action makes up any shortfall, with a small one expected this year.

Local councillors Ruth Wilkinson and David Rundle were asked to put £50 each of their £1,500 ward budgets towards the lights by Headington Action, and last night said they would contribute more if necessary.

City councillor Jean Fooks, who is putting £500 of her ward budgettowards Summertown’s Christmas lights, said: “It would be nice if the city council would think that it could support the districts.

“Both Headington and Summertown are important districts of the city.”