give backing to Burnham-On-Sea Christmas lights plans
day may have only just taken place, but one Burnham-On-Sea group
is already planning forward to Christmas.
of the Town Council's Policy and Finance Committee have this week
given unanimous backing to Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade's proposals
for changes to the town centre Christmas lights display, to include
a new-format switch-on event on Saturday November 19th plus a
late night shopping evening.
Chamber's Vice Chairman, Alex Turco, told councillors at Monday's
meeting: "Firstly, I would like to apologise as here we are
on the Summer Solstice talking about Christmas, but we actually
have just five months to go until the festive lights are due to
be switched on and there's an old adage 'if you fail to prepare
then you can prepare to fail' so that's why we're here tonight."
first part of our application is the annual installation of the
Christmas lights. The normal cost for this is about £3,000
but that pre-supposes that we don't need any repairs or maintenance
to the light fittings or the light electrics. Of course last year
we had new lights funded by the Town Council and the Tesco funding
and we are therefore hoping that repairs will be kept to a bear
added: "While undertaking a survey at the end of the Christmas
lights display in 2015, there were some concerns raised to us
at the southern end of the High Street, especially between Adam
Street and Abingdon Street, that because we were no longer put
lights on actual lighting columns there were not enough lights
in that area."
we want to support businesses at the south end of the High Street,
especially as many have been hit hard by the ongoing effects of
the closure of Morrisons, and there will also be a skating rink
again in the Lynton Road car park this year."
want to make sure there is a clear connection from the rink into
the High Street so that people do actually shop and skate. We
would like to do something about that and have several options
- we could buy new lights, recondition old lights by upgrading
them with LED lights, or we could hire new solar-powered LED Christmas
trees which could be hung from the hanging basket stands."
final part of our application is the big community event, the
switch-on, which we have scheduled for November 19th to avoid
clashing with Highbridge's lights switch-on on November 26th."
have been running this event for many years and we learn something
new each year. We are very conscious about the wide range of opinions
about the location and road closures - we know that our businesses
are sensitive to roads being shut and we therefore intend to change
the configuration of this year's event."
will start later in the day and the actual switch-on will be later
at around 6-6.30pm. One reason for going later is so that we don't
have to close the road until we really need to. That way, town
centre business can go on as usual on a busy Saturday morning."
we are aware that a number of attempts have been made over the
years to create standalone late night shopping events whereas
we already have a big event for the lights switch-on and thought
wouldn't it be great to maximise the footfall and the benefit
of this event by encouraging shops to take part in a 'later night
opening'. That's why we plan to hold the lights switch-on later
in the day this year, to create a more compact event, but it will
still include afternoon entertainment with our local schools and
groups that will be of benefit to all local residents, including
families and children."
John Parkes said: "The Chamber should be congratulated on
a very detailed application with a clear rationale. I support
Paul Young added: "I think having the late night shopping
on the same day as the switch-on is an excellent idea - the event
does bring in a large captive audience."
Janet Keen added: "We are already a quarter of the way through
our financial year and we have already spent 54.5% of the budget.
I know that things like this don't come cheap but if we grant
this application in full that would deplete our budget to around
£14,000 for the next nine months and we don't know what
other grants from other voluntary organisations will come our
way. We have had some very big grants in the last couple of months
and I do worry how we will manage the rest of the year. I would
not like to be in a position in January where we are having to
Turco responded: "We would like to help you. We are all volunteers
at the Chamber, as you are, and we are reasonable people, so here's
a counter-proposition from us. If you are showing an interest
in the LED solar-powered Christmas trees compared with the other
options - to upgrade or further develop the lights - then we have
the detailed costings for that and we can easily take the cost
of the display extension down by £1,000. So if you direct
us today to go for the solar powered Christmas trees attached
to your hanging basket columns then I can say that our budget
will be reduced along with the grant application to £3,500."
Keen thanked the Chamber, saying: "That's an extremely helpful
and generous offer."
Keen proposed that the committee accept the £3,500 application,
seconded by Cllr John Parkes. The committee unanimously accepted
the application, subject to the approval of the full council.
Cllr Mike Facey added: "I would like to thank the Chamber
for a superb presentation - working together with us and showing
proper thinking. It's a wonderful application and there are lots
of good ideas here."
am aware that we had a speaker earlier who mentioned that the
word business is used a lot of the time - I understand where she
was coming from - but we are elected members here to represent
members of the public and what more can you do than to encourage
families to see the Christmas lights in both our towns."