Councillors in Boston face ‘Groundhog Day’ over Christmas

One of the projections used this Christmas.
One of the projections used this Christmas.

It is mid-January, but the Christmas lights debate still continues as council leaders faced ‘Groundhog Day’ over last year’s display.

Boston Borough Council’s town centre portfolio holder Paul Skinner referenced the 1993 film as councillors and public put questions to him and leader Peter Bedford at a recent full council meeting.

As from the 1980’s film the Empire Strikes Back, Yoda, in assisting Luke to his full potential lifting the X-wing from the swamp: ‘Do, or do not. There is no try’.

Boston Borough Council’s town centre portfolio holder Coun Paul Skinner

Coun Richard Austin then joined Coun Jonathan Noble in asking what could be done better for next year.

Mr Noble asked Mr Skinner: “You have commented publicly that the town’s Christmas Lights, 2016, ‘could have been better’. In what respects could they have been better?”

Making the pop culture reference Coun Skinner said: “What a strange day, more like February 2 – indeed third loop of the day.”

Mr Skinner explained BTAC had chosen the projects and said they ‘ran well despite some last minute challenges’.

He praised the projections and Cammack’s lighting of their building funded by BTAC. He said a card competition which had been planned did not happen.

He added volunteers and sponsors were now needed to help with this year’s event, with workshops planned in February.

He added: “As from the 1980’s film the Empire Strikes Back, Yoda, in assisting Luke to his full potential lifting the X-wing from the swamp: ‘Do, or do not. There is no try’.”

Coun Austin also asked council leader Peter Bedford how much the annual cost of a Christmas scheme that ‘met public expectation’ would be in terms of band D council tax payers?

Coun Bedford did not provide an answer, but instead said he was ‘amazed and saddened’ by the question.

He told Coun Austin that there had been two budgets voted through and that councillors should have asked for a debate at the time or provided an alternative budget for discussion.

He accused Coun Austin of either forgetting his own actions, or presenting a ‘poorly guised electioneering or press stunt’.

Councillor Austin denied the accusation, and asked Coun Bedford if he could provide a written answer.

Coun Welton also confirmed to councillors that Boston Town Area Committee would be holding a special meeting in February to look at the Christmas lights scheme in detail following a request by Coun Noble that the council carry out an investigation.