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Clare Christmas Lights

Thank you to the Christmas Lights Committee and all those who volunteered and supported the switch on event on Friday. 

Following recent Facebook posts the Clerk would like to clarify the position.

Last week there was a Facebook post stating the Town Council had “tried to hijack the Christmas Lights Switch on by insisting the chairman of the town council is on the stage! This is after the town council earlier in the year stated that the xmas lights committee are not suitable people to organise the event. This has now upset the xmas lights committee and the main members won’t be putting the event on … ”

Clare Town Council has always supported the Christmas Lights Committee and for several years the Clerk has provided administrative support including road closure liaison, obtaining the Unmetered Supply Certificate from UK Power Networks and providing the formal link with St Edmundsbury Borough Council in the form of inviting and liaising with the Mayor). This support has continued since a new group replaced the previous members of the Christmas Lights Committee, who stood down after several years. 

Following consultation with the Chair of the Christmas Lights Committee some weeks ago, the Clerk sent the usual invitation to the Mayor of St Edmundsbury Borough Council. Council protocol and etiquette have always been followed, hence the Chairman or another Councillor has met the Mayor on the evening of the event to welcome him/her. The Clerk received no communication to indicate that these arrangements would not continue and liaised with the Mayor’s office to ensure a smooth ‘meet and greet’. On Thursday evening a message was received that the Town Council’s involvement was not required, by which time the Town Council office was closed and all arrangements had been made directly with the Mayor. There was no intention of the Town Council Chairman presenting the event or being on the stage, only to meet the Mayor as the Chairman of the Town Council who had sent the invitation.   

No Councillor has stated that the Christmas Lights Committee are not suitable people to organise the event.

Some Councillors have previously suggested that the Town Council take over some of the arrangements in order to satisfy the requirements of the insurance provider. (The insurance provider this year clarified the stipulation in the small print of the insurance documents that the same cover and premium could not be provided for the event as previous years unless the event was organised directly by the Town Council). In order to meet these requirements some Councillors suggested that the arrangements for the Christmas Lights Switch On Event be made by the Town Council. Otherwise, the details of the insurance cover would need to be altered so that it was in the name of the Christmas Lights Committee. This unfortunately but unavoidably would increase the insurance premium. The Christmas Lights Committee wished to continue making all the arrangements themsleves and therefore the insurance documents and premium were amended and the Town Council, as in previous years, provided a grant to cover the insurance costs.

Town Council regulations prevent Councillors from conversing via social media and time and resources do not allow for a social media regulator. However, it is necessary to protect the Town Council’s reputation from allegations that do not reflect the actual situation.


Story By: Town Clerk

Date : 07-12-2015