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Ding-dong on high over town’s two Christmases
10:00am Sunday 6th October 2013 in News
A STANDOFF between traders and councillors means residents in Upton are set to benefit from a double Christmas celebration this year.
Upton Town Council and Upton Tourism and Trade Association (UTTA) are busy planning separate events for the festive season – as both say they have tried and failed to speak to the other party about their plans.
The traders will be throwing their annual Christmas Extravaganza on Saturday, December 7.
But they feel the council has stepped in out of turn by planning its own events, including a carol service and a party for the town’s senior citizens.
UTTA chairman Annette Keyworth said she is “outraged” that while they are shelling out for their celebrations, the council has awarded its newly formed Christmas working group a budget of £1,850.
“Why should we work hard to raise the money and put our hands in our own pockets when they can just award themselves money to do whatever they want,” she said. “It is appalling.”
She said she has sent three requests for a meeting with the working group but received absolutely no response. Mrs Keyworth informed the council of UTTA’s festive plans during a public meeting in August.
But Mayor Peter Webb said he had tried to find out information from UTTA for several months beforehand – and that the lack of response was why the council had decided to press ahead with its own plans.
“In years gone by, plans for Christmas have usually been under way by the spring and we had been asking them (UTTA) for a long time with no response,” he said.
“We have not given ourselves money. It has simply been decided to spend some of the council’s funds on events for Christmas.”
Both parties reject the other’s claims over a refusal to communicate.
But Mrs Keyworth said she was so frustrated to learn of the council’s plans that she almost decided to scrap the Christmas Extravaganza entirely.
However, she decided to go-ahead for the benefit of the community and because of the “many hours of hard work” already put in by traders.
Coun Webb said he did not believe the council’s events would impact on UTTA’s plans in any way – and that he believes the different celebrations will complement each other.
“It will mean there is more on offer for the people of the town,” he said.
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