CHRISTMAS in Crewe is back on, after the town council agreed to stump up £25k to pay for festive lights.
The announcement follows a row over £11,000 of funding for the event which Crewe Town Council (CTC) claims Cheshire East Council (CEC) had promised them.
The dispute boiled over live on BBC Radio Stoke last week between CEC’s leader, clr Michael Jones, and Crewe clr Kevin Hickson.
It’s the latest spat between the two authorities, coming after the conservative-controlled borough council denied the all-labour town council off space in the Municipal Building.
Speaking afterwards, clr Hickson said: “It’s been an interesting 48 hours, and we wish to allay concerns in Crewe that the Christmas celebrations won’t go ahead.
“The circumstances are unfortunate and it is a shame that Cheshire East chose to act in the way they did.
“I can confirm that the town council has agreed to step in and fully fund the Christmas celebrations, members of the finance and resources committee felt that we had no alternative but to meet the demands placed on us by Cheshire East for more funding.
“We will continue to ask Cheshire East to honour previous commitments to the tune of £11k, but in all honesty I am not optimistic the people of Crewe will ever see that money.
“The Council is in the process of placing an order with Cheshire East for £25k to enable them to supply and fully manage all aspects of the celebrations this year.
“Next year though the Town Council will manage all aspects of the celebrations and is looking to work with the community to refresh the format and provide something that is different and vibrant.”
A Cheshire East Council spokesman said: “It is the responsibility of Crewe Town Council to make provision for Christmas lights and manage a range of other responsibilities which have now been devolved to them.
“They have a budget of nearly half a million pounds with specific provision for Christmas lighting. They have all the money and authority they need to sort this out and should now do so.
“All our other town councils are taking responsibility and showing local leadership and it simply isn’t fair that council taxpayers in the rest of the borough are, in effect, being asked to subsidise Crewe Town Council.”
CTC’s £25k funding will include all lights, the town Christmas tree and a switch on event with fireworks featuring a guest star to be confirmed.
Clr Hickson added that CTC were interested to hear residents’ thoughts about how a new-look Christmas celebration for Crewe could look in 2014.
He said: “If there are those out there with ideas then I’d very much like to hear what the people of Crewe want for their Christmas next year. But perhaps let’s get through this year first.
“Hopefully good will to all men will reassert itself.”