Heat turned up on festive lights debate – the full meeting revealed

Christmas lights
Christmas lights
  • Councillors held a lengthy debate on the festive lighting from 2016 and what went wrong
  • Critics decried a lack of traditional festive lights, while criticism was also levelled at organisers for not breaking down how a £35,000 grant was spent
  • A non-council committee is to be formed to look at this year’s event

It is hoped a volunteer committee can save Boston from another Christmas lights debate – which last year resulted in national condemnation.

That was the suggestion put forward at Wednesday’s Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) following scathing comments during a lengthy postmortem into what had actually gone wrong.

It’s always the council that gets bad publicity. The Town Team, Chamber of Commerce, businesses, they got no bad publicity, no public hangings.

BTAC Chairman Nigel Welton

Clearly unhappy with the torrent of negative comments directed at the borough council, chairman Nigel Welton looked to turn the tables on the businesses for a lack of support, declaring they should be ‘ashamed of themselves’.

He said: “It’s always the council that gets bad publicity. The Town Team, Chamber of Commerce, businesses, they got no bad publicity, no public hangings.

“That was disgraceful, all we heard was that the council should be ashamed of themselves. And, do you know what? I don’t want that again.”

The Christmas lights display was subjected to criticism from the public and drew the attention of the national press.

“The TV, radio, all of the pundits that spoke about this project were very clear in their condemnation,” said Coun Brian Rush.

“I am fed up to the back teeth with this town getting bad press.”

Last February, BTAC agreed to allocate £35,000 towards a Christmas lights project after Boston Borough Council decided there were no funds in its coffers.

The money was given to the Boston Town Team – backed by Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce – which then decided how the money was spent. This included projectors to showcase images onto buildings in the town. But critics decried the lack of traditional festive lights.

Criticism was also levelled at the Chamber that a breakdown of how the £35,000 was spent was not presented.

Some councillors at the meeting felt that the money given was not spent correctly.

Among them was Coun Yvonne Stevens who said: “Why the hell should we abuse our town and run our town like this? This is awful.”

Coun Paul Gleeson recommended a committee be set up to take this year’s lights forward.

“I think the only way this will work is to actually have members of our community who want to come forward and volunteer to form a committee,” he said.

Coun Welton agreed that a ‘non council attended committee be formed, supported by BTAC in administration and set up’.

* After the meeting, a statement from the council was released saying it had been decided that a community group should be set up to assist in the provision of Christmas lights for the town.

The council said the community group would work with the Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, and should be set up this month.

They asked anyone wanting to be involved to call Janette Collier on 01205 314227 or email: janette.collier@boston.gov.uk