Traders hit at out at town council after being asked to pay towards the festive lights display
BUSINESSES have hit out after Cirencester Town Council sent round a begging letter asking for contributions to the annual Christmas lights display.
The letter was sent to most businesses in the town asking for contributions to the town’s festive lights. Many said they were already asked to pay enough to operate from the town but other traders said they thought the request was perfectly reasonable.
Manager of the New Wave Fish Shop Ben Hoggett said it was a “really bad decision” for the council to make.
“It’s a silly thing for the council to ask businesses to contribute. If they can’t afford the lights they should be creative and do something else,” he said.
“If a member of the council in person actually came into the shop and asked if we could contribute, as it’s a community event, I would say yes.
“But sending a round robin letter to everyone asking for money is bad form.”
Mark Lindesay, landlord of the Golden Cross in Black Jack Street, said businesses already contributed enough to the town. “We pay our fair share through business rates and to be asked to contribute further is a bit of a cheek,” he said. “To be fair we do have lights coming up Black Jack Street and we’re grateful for that but as individuals and businesses we’re contributing enough already.”
Chief executive of Cirencester Town Council Andrew Tubb said the council received no contribution for the lights from business rates or government grants.
“In trying to encourage tourism and boost the economy through increased footfall we welcome voluntary donations and support from businesses towards the Christmas lights,” he said. Owner of Lock Stock and Barrel Jonathan Davies said he would be making a contribution to the lights. He said he thought it a perfectly reasonable request, although ideally the council would not need to make it.
“I think the lights add value to my business,” he said. “They look great and I would not want to see Cirencester without them. This time is an important part of the trading period.
“In an ideal world the council would have the funds and would not have to ask businesses for a contribution.”
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