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No cash for Christmas lights in Overton
OVERTON could be without Christmas lights next year because no one will pay to replace them.
The lights in the village centre were donated several years ago and although they are currently illuminated, it is thought they will be beyond repair by next Christmas.
Overton Parish Council has refused to fund their replacement, and said it should be up to Overton Business Association (OBA) to pay for them.
The association puts the lights on two trees in the square, and arranges for smaller Christmas trees to be put up above the shops, which are paid for by individual businesses.
At the meeting of Overton Parish Council last week, council chairman Tom Ridler said: “OBA has always done the Christmas lights and there’s the argument that it should be left to them but I think a lot of people would be disappointed if the village centre wasn’t lit up at Christmas because the OBA didn’t do anything.”
Cllr Peter Baker said the annual membership of the OBA costs £40, and that if this was increased it could cover the cost of replacing the lights.
He added: “My view is it’s for the benefit of the businesses and they should put their fees up to a reasonable amount.”
Cllr Brian Langer pointed out that parish councils often paid for “this type of thing” and he did not want to get to November next year and find there were no lights.
Steve Nicholls, a committee member of OBA who owns Purple Olive in High Street, said the cost of replacing the lights is £600, and that it would not be fair to spend members’ money on this when not all would benefit.
He added: “The OBA isn’t just high street shops. About half of the businesses are people who won’t benefit from the centre being lit up.”
He said OBA approached the parish council to ask for help funding the lights next year, and added: “Other villages are funded by parish councils.”
Mr Nicholls said the OBA might look into fundraising for lights, adding: “I know that we can’t spend what little money we have on Christmas lights. It has to fund the other 11 months of the year too.”