MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR
Following the news early in the year that Light Up Bexhill would not be participating in the installation and switch-on event with Rother District Council Bexhill-on-Sea Town Council has been diligently working on the planning and execution of this year's Christmas Lights
The Community Committee initiated discussions on the Christmas Lights in June 2023. Mindful of the financial challenges, they focused on installing lights in shopping areas in the town centre, and a tree, with members actively researching hire options and designs. In September, a draft plan was reviewed and later approved by the Finance and General Purposes Committee, recommending an appropriate budget, considering the financial climate. The Full Council subsequently reviewed this plan and gave the Community Committee the responsibility for decision-making. On October 4th 2023, the plan was officially approved, which unfortunately meant a safe switch on event would be difficult to organise in a short timescale.
The Council emphasized its commitment to adhering to the approved budget. Bearing in mind the financial pressures on residents Is submitted a motion to donate funds from the Mayoral Budget to help cover the costs. It was decided that the Council would be prudent and organise this first year as a pilot scheme, to enable us to improve and enhance the specification display in 2024 and beyond.
We considered a 14–16-foot tree would be appropriate and within budget, and the purchase of that tree was formally approved by members at the Finance and General Purposes Committee. When the tree was installed, unfortunately 5 foot of the structure was contained within the trough which differed from the anticipated 3 foot. We actively began working with the supplier to rectify this. Following public feedback, we want to assure residents that the Council is addressing concerns related to the tree's size and its placement within the trough. We are working closely with contractors to correct this situation promptly.
It is with regret that the Council expresses disappointment over aggressive and negative remarks directed at our staff. The Council urges the public to refrain from abusive behaviour or threats towards staff, such inappropriate actions will not be tolerated. Council staff are duty bound to follow the instructions of the democratically elected council they are not the decision makers.
Following passionate public reaction regarding the tree, the Council reassures residents that it is collaborating with the tree supplier to improve the situation. The Council recognises the challenges of public spending during a cost-of-living crisis however weighing this up against public expectation and demand, we will improve the tree.
The Council emphasizes its dedication to enhancing the festive spirit in Bexhill. Large snowflake motifs are set to adorn Devonshire Square, Devonshire Road, Sackville Road, Wickham Avenue, and Sea Road, with the lights scheduled to be switched on as of December 1st as planned. Unfortunately, the festive lights in Western Road will be slightly delayed as essential maintenance work is required on the wire infrastructure to ensure public safety. A switch-on event could not be organized safely this year due to the short timescale, but the Council hopes to plan a full Christmas event for next year.
In closing, the Bexhill-on-Sea Town Council extends its formal commitment to improving the tree in Devonshire Square and promises to enhance specifications for next year's Christmas Lights. The Council apologizes for any disappointment caused and assures residents that lessons learned will contribute to future improvements.
The Council and I wish all Bexhillians a wonderful Christmas and New Year.
Mayor Lynn Brailsford
- 07769 254176
35 Western Road, Bexhill-On-Sea, East Sussex, TN40 1DU