crisis leads to axe of Burnham-On-Sea's Christmas lights
town centre may not be illuminated with a Christmas lights display
this year due to a major cash shortfall, the town's Chamber Of
Trade revealed on Monday evening (April 12th).
Shickle, the Chamber's Chairman, announced the news when
he appealed to the town council for funding at their monthly meeting.
said: "The Chamber won't be running a display this year.
We just cannot afford the £10,000 yearly cost when we get
so little in grant funding from local councils."
district council gave us just £1,500 last year, but due
to budget cutbacks it looks as though that funding will be cut back this time."
year's Christmas lights display in Burnham cost more than expected
and we just can't continue it in this way."
Neville Jones, who sits on the district council's grants committee,
assured Mr Shickle that all grant funding had not been axed, although
he could not guarantee that money would be available for Burnham's
Dennis Davey questioned whether the £2,300 spent on last
year's switch-on ceremony could be re-directed towards the lights
themselves, but Mr Shickle said the switch-on ceremony is a key
part of the Christmas lights display.
people give the Chamber of Trade a lot of praise for the switch-on
- it's an impressive spectacle that marks the start of Christmas
in Burnham," he said.
Davey said that if the Town Council were to consider taking over
the running of the lights display from the Chamber, it would also
have to do the same for Highbridge, which would represent a "financial
double whammy" for the council.
Chamber of Trade Chairman Alex Turco, who was at Monday's meeting,
raised an apparent inbalance in the district council's support
for local Christmas lights displays. "Bridgwater's Christmas
lights got £44,000 from the district council in grant funding
when Burnham got just £1,500," he said.
councillors decided to refer the matter to the town council's
Policy and Finance Committee to consider the plea for funding
in more detail.
above are the Christmas lights in Burnham-On-Sea's High Street
in 2009 and Michael Eavis switching on the lights in 2008