Clash over festive trees

Councillors have clashed in a row over cancelled Christmas trees in Blackpool.

Friday, 21st October 2016, 8:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 2:33 pm
Mooky and Bubu from Blackpool Tower Circus at a previous Christmas Tree switch-on at Mereside

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams has accused Clifton’s ward councillors Luke Taylor and Adrian Hutton of ‘humbug’ for axing Mereside’s festive trees despite having more than £19,000 in their ward budget.

The pair blamed government cuts, but Coun Williams branded this “a pathetic excuse not to bother brightening up the area at Christmas”.

He added: “The local councillors stated due to reduced councillor ward budgets and that old chestnut ‘government cuts’ they may not be able to afford to bring Christmas to their ward, despite the fact they have more than £19,000 left in their kitty.

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“I am told hundreds of children in the community look forward to seeing the tree every year.

“‘Bah humbug’ some might say but it is really typical of some councillors being unable to manage their budgets and think outside the box.

“Councillors today need to be social entrepreneurs and seek income from other sources to enhance their own budgets.

“This year, and as we have done every year for the last nine years, myself and Coun Paul Galley will be supplying 21 illuminated Christmas trees that will be placed all over Anchorsholme ward that will be provided for well within our budget.”

Coun Taylor said he had now secured sponsorship for two Christmas trees in Mereside, and this would enable funding to be channelled to other good causes.

He said: “The money currently in the ward budget will be going towards a range of community projects from financing a new garden orchard development alongside Better Start and the parks department, new alley gates in and around Clifton ward, a new community launderette and money towards local projects which residents can apply for.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to go out and spend all our budget within a few months of getting it to then tell a local community group there’s no money left.”