Wisbech people will vote on if they want £30,000 on Christmas lights

Wisbech Christmas Lights Switch on 2013. Picture: Steve Williams.

Wisbech Christmas Lights Switch on 2013. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

n official vote is due to be put to the people of Wisbech on whether they want thousands of pounds of public money spending on new Christmas lights.

Wisbech town councillors who are working on the Christmas lights project plan to have the question put to the public next week, with a voting deadline of the following week.

In his blog councillor Steve Tierney said: “The question will hopefully be a simple one. We would like to do X, X and X, and it will cost £X which will be paid for from the Town Council’s reserves and then followed by fundraising to try and recoup some or all of the funds over the next couple of years.

“People will be able to say yes to that or no. If they say no it won’t mean we will never upgrade the Christmas lights only that we’ll have to do it more slowly and raise the money in a different way.

“Or ask again some other time. If they say yes then we’ll “try” and do it this year. If we don’t have time – which is quite possible given the date – then we’ll look to put the new lights in place for next year.

“Either way, in the end, the choice is down to those people of Wisbech who bother to respond to the question put to them. What they say, the majority of them, is what we’ll do.”

In a poll conducted by the Wisbech Standard three out of five people who took part in an on line poll rejected the idea of spending £30,000 on an upgrade for the town’s lights.

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The lights make over was first proposed in May by Cllr Tierney who said the “whole plan would run alongside a continuous public fundraising campaign – with local individuals, groups and businesses encouraged to put money in the pot to help the Christmas Lights Project.”

“We have the chance here to do something great for the town. It may be that none of us are still here this time next year – perhaps the town council will be dominated by a bunch of crazy racists who want to paint everything red and white and blame all their failings on people who are different to them? Anything is possible. Wouldn’t it be nice, if the people of the town approve, to just do this? I think it would.”

Council minutes show that in May “members decided, unanimously - on a proposal by Cllr Tierney, seconded by Cllr Bucknor – that the council would create an ear-marked reserve of no more than £30,000 for the possible purchase of additional Christmas lights for the town.”

The council also decided that funding would be subject to approval by the people of Wisbech through a consultation exercise.

Opposition members have criticised the proposals with one claiming the scheme was being rushed through and “what’s now being done we consider extremely unprofessional, undemocratic and shambolic”.

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