THE warm glow of festive lights is facing a darker future.
Sandy Chamber of Trade, which has organised the Sandy Christmas lights and switch-on event for years, has pulled out.
The Chamber’s announcement follows the Chronicle’s report of a Sandy Town Council committee discussion, which was published on Friday, July 6.
At the meeting on Monday, June 25, councillors expressed the view that the lights and switch-on event had grown stale.
The report for the meeting also said that the Chamber does not provide enough detailed financial information to justify the proposed £5,500 grant from the town council.
It added that insufficient safety information is provided and that there is a lack of consultation with the wider community.
Jack Welling, secretary of the Chamber, subsequently wrote a letter to the town clerk in which he said: “I have been instructed by my colleagues in the Chamber to inform you of our decision to withdraw from any further involvement in the organisation of this event.
“The proposed allocation of a council grant to help fund our costs is therefore unnecessary and will, I assume, be put to more profitable use elsewhere.”
He said that the Chamber had provided the council with audited accounts and costs for the 2011 lights in January 2012.
The letter continued: “Clearly your councillors feel they can implement improvements in the organisation and finance of this undertaking and are to be applauded for their enthusiasm and sagacity.”
In a later statement the Chamber added: “The Chamber decided that a radical solution to this matter was to hand over the organisation and management to Sandy Town Council. The council membership apparently believe they are better equipped to provide the community with a cost effective and innovative lights display at Christmas.”
Councillor Ken Lynch, who is the Chamber’s community liason officer, was dismayed by the other councillors’ comments.
He said: “I’m very disappointed that they have criticised a group of people who work very hard voluntarily for the benefit of the community. The lights last year were brilliant.”
Sandy Town Council will continue with its plan from Monday, June 25 to invite the Chamber of Trade, Sandy Town Team and other interested parties such as independent businesses to a meeting, now scheduled for Friday, July 27.
Who should organise the Christmas lights and would you like to see any changes? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on the Biggleswade Chronicle Facebook page.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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