Town council reveals its Christmas plans for Whitehaven

13 September 2017 3:20PM

Whitehaven Town Council is keeping a tight hold on its purse strings as it plans its Christmas events.

Details of this year's festivities include a glittering switch-on event in the town on Sunday, November 19.

It is set to feature the CFM stage and two artists to be confirmed at a later date. Further details have not yet been announced.

The town council has agreed to spend £34,000 on lights and festivities this year, and it is keeping a tight rein on the budget following last year's Christmas fiasco.

It was heavily criticised for its major overspend on Christmas festivities last year.

The council had allocated £30,000 for last year's festive celebrations but it actually paid over £74,000 - two-and-a-half times the original budget.

Brian O'Kane, ceremonial mayor of Whitehaven, said: "The council has forensically analysed the expenditure for last year and has decided to be considerably more prudent about how much the council contributes to the Christmas festivities."

"What we hope is that in conjunction with other events on the day it can be a really enjoyable occasion."

Earlier this year, the town council allocated £25,000 for this Christmas.

The figures have since risen due to repairs and maintenance needed for the lights.

The council now says it could cost a maximum of £27,000 for the lights alone.

This charge would be for Cumbria County Council to check, repair and maintain the lights as well as putting them up and taking them down.

Councillors held an extraordinary meeting last week where they agreed to spend £7,000 for the switch-on event.

This is set to cover the CFM stage, behind-the-scenes costs such as a generator, barriers, security and paramedics and two artists.

Marlene Jewell, town council clerk, said: "We have got a Christmas advisory group meeting this week. Whatever is discussed will go to the full council at September's meeting."

Coun O'Kane said the council wants to look at new lights for future Christmas festivities in the town.

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