New sub-committee formed to ensure Honiton is lit up at Christmas

PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:05 13 April 2018

Car light trails at Christmas time in Honiton. Ref Honiton Christmas lights and car trails-1. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Car light trails at Christmas time in Honiton. Ref Honiton Christmas lights and car trails-1. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Picture: Alex Walton Photography

A new sub-committee has been formed to ensure that Honiton is decked out in festive lights at Christmas.

Town councillor Duncan Sheridan-Shaw.Town councillor Duncan Sheridan-Shaw.

It comes after Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce revealed it is gifting a proportion of the festive lights it owns to residents as a permanent resource.

Over the last four years, the chamber has helped to provide and support the Christmas lights display in Honiton.

However, community fundraising will now have to be undertaken to make sure the lights are taken down and any faulty ones are replaced.

If the money is not raised, Honiton Town Council would be required to underwrite the costs of the Christmas lights display for 2018/19.

The issue was flagged by the town’s mayor, Councillor John Zarczynski, at a council meeting on Monday night.

He said he did not want the town council to be ‘lumbered’ with a huge bill each year to provide the lights, with little contribution from the chamber of commerce.

His concerns were echoed by town clerk Mark Tredwin, who said: “There have been assurances from the chamber and Cllr Duncan Sheridan-Shaw that they will be actively going out to raise money.

“There is a problem however - because if they do not successfully raise that money, what do you do?”

Currently, a budget has been established for 2018/19 of £3,000 of the installation of the Christmas lights.

But Mr Tredwin said: “There’s the realisation that if they [fundraisers] do fail to raise the money, then the following year, what will happen is those lights won’t go up and the £3,000 that would have gone towards putting the lights up in 2019/20 will come back to the council... But the town has to recognise that’s why the lights won’t be going up.”

Mr Tredwin said the council does not have a ‘bottomless pit’ of money and is in ‘equally a stringent place’ as other councils.

Cllr Sheridan-Shaw, who is also a member of the chamber of commerce, said: “We have huge amounts of lights in our arsenal. We have enough to go up.

“The problem being is that it’s an expensive process to put them up and take them down again.

“We are looking to alleviate the pressure on the chamber of commerce and make it more of a community aspect.”

Councillors unanimously voted to create a Christmas lights sub-committee.

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