5th Dec, 2016

Public may get the chance to light up the town

Joshua Godfrey 30th Jan, 2016 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

VALE residents could soon be handed control of the town’s festive decorations under radical plans being considered by Evesham Town Council, the Observer can reveal.

Following the furore over last year’s decorations, which led to some residents ‘tinsel bombing’ a tree labelled as ‘sad’ on social media, town councillors are now considering a unique solution to avoid further festive fall outs.

Under proposals put forward at Evesham Town Council’s planning meeting on Monday (January 25), councillors backed plans to explore options on the future of the lights.

Town residents could be handed a greater say and could even be asked to form a committee to take full control of the lights.

With an £18,000 already being set aside for this year’s lights and tree, a boost of £1,500 compared to last year’s budget, any committee would have a lot of spending power.

The plans haven’t yet been set in stone and will need the full backing of councillors at a full council meeting in March before the idea can be developed any further.

The Town Council’s current three year contract with Festive Lighting Company has come to an end, meaning a new contractor needs to be found for this year’s festivities in December.

Speaking during the meeting Evesham’s Mayor, Coun Fred Kaler, said: “I think it is an excellent idea to hand control to a group of town residents, after all it is our resident’s town and they should have an input in civic pride such as Christmas Lights.

“But it should not be something to rush into, and needs to be investigated. The Town Council should hold a public meeting to gather their ideas and suggestions.”

Coun Richard Jones said: “It’s an intriguing idea and I think as Facebook was awash with comments, then perhaps Facebook is the place where we should push the idea out to people to come with better ideas, or to form a committee.

“But there’s always the problem that nothing happens and then we get to November and there are no lights to switch on, and we’ll get it in the neck.

“We’re early enough in the year though to actually run with it.”

In a report to councillors, the town council accepted there had been a mixed response to the lights and said the issue was with the coverage of the lights, rather than the design.

Coun Jennifer Johnson agreed that the response had been mixed: “I received a lot of mixed comments. Some were, its rubbish, and some said it’s absolutely beautiful down Bridge Street.

“In the rest of the town they didn’t think it was particularly nice,” she added.