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Council refuses to match money pledged for Christmas Lights

July 23, 2008 2:23 PM

With pledges from businesses and other organisations of £10,000 towards Christmas lights for Epsom Town Centre, Residents' Party councillors refused to "match" this level of funding as they had originally agreed.

A meeting of the borough council on Tuesday 22nd July saw "Christmas Lights" once again on the agenda, but intervention by a Lib Dem councillor at the eleventh hour was unsuccessful. The borough council's contribution remains at £6,000 for 2008/9, a one-off payment which is unlikely to inspire businesses to contribute in future years, believes Cllr Colin Taylor (Stamford).

Cllr Colin Taylor is also a County Councillor and had pledged up to £4,000 toward Christmas lights, taking external contributions to £10,000, but although the Residents' Party councillors had previously agreed to "match" funding up to precisely that level, they stuck steadfastly to £6,000 and no more.

Cllr Taylor commented "It's been made quite clear at the Business Partnership Board that we need more than just £12,000 to achieve a good display which will also last for a few years. If the political will had been there and my offer had been matched, we would have had £20,000. This only goes to show that the RA councillors have just been paying lip service to residents' concerns about our lack of Christmas spirit. I was disappointed that, although some of his colleagues had the decency to abstain, Cllr Dallen, who has publicised his desire for a festive display at Christmas, voted against an increased contribution from the borough council. Nevertheless I will continue with my additional contribution if this will help make it possible to purchase a good and durable display of lights."