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Bleak year ahead for Fordingbridge if no backer found for flowers
THE mayor of Fordingbridge has issued a desperate appeal for help after revealing the town’s hanging baskets, Christmas lights and Christmas trees could be axed this year.
Malcolm Connolly says new health and safety rules and a ten per cent drop in the council tax precept are responsible for the town’s plight.
Now cllr Connolly is appealing to residents and businesses to come forward and help “keep the things that make this town so special”.
The appeal comes after Fordingbridge Town Council found that they have to pay for health and safety test certificates to ensure lampposts and brackets are strong enough to support the Christmas lights, which also come under health and safety scrutiny along with the electricity supply.
But that is not all; cllr Connolly explained that they must replace the town’s ageing equipment, which is used to hang the Yuletide decorations and summertime hanging baskets.
And with rising costs of electricity, cllr Connolly said he was “seriously worried” that their budget will not stretch.
He said: “We have to repair and renew our existing lights, and while Fordingbridge Town Council and the Rotary Club pay about £5,000 for the hanging baskets, the summer flowers and the Christmas trees and lights every year, we won’t have any money to add to it to make the necessary improvements.
“I estimate it will cost another £5,000 to make the equipment good for another five or six years.
“With the Government spending cuts, which see changes to the New Forest District Council precept, which is passed down to us, coupled with the costs of the new health and safety regulations, the future of our seasonal events are in jeopardy.
“I am appealing to businesses and residents to please support or sponsor us this year, so we can keep the things that bring joy to the community. It would be a great shame if we lose our flowers and Christmas trees.
“These things make Fordingbridge special and give a good community feeling.”
Cllr Connolly added: “Right now we are at risk of losing it all.”
Anyone who would like to help with the cost of summer flower displays or Christmas lights can contact the town council on 01425 654134 or email email@example.com.