Coun­cil may pass on cost of fes­tive elec­tric­ity

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - LOCAL NEWS -

Coun­cil­lors have unan­i­mously voiced op­po­si­tion to pro­pos­als to charge com­mu­ni­ties for elec­tric­ity used on Christ­mas lights.

Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil is con­sid­er­ing mak­ing groups pay for the power from next year as it looks to save around £11,000.

Com­mu­nity groups across the area buy, main­tain and erect the dis­plays and cover costs through fundrais­ing.

The Banff and Buchan area com­mit­tee is united against the plan.

Coun­cil­lor Charles Buchan said: “I am re­ally wor­ried about the rep­u­ta­tional dam­age to the coun­cil.

“It would just dec­i­mate or even worse the whole idea of Christ­mas lights, which we need to make our towns at­trac­tive.”

Mr Buchan was speak­ing

“I would not like to see any of our com­mu­ni­ties not hav­ing lights”

to the Banff and Buchan area com­mit­tee in Fraser­burgh yes­ter­day.

Coun­cil­lor Mark Find­later ar­gued that the po­ten­tial sav­ings did not add up.

He added: “It is a drop in the ocean and, as far as I am con­cerned, we should be supporting our lo­cal groups. I am sorry but I would not like to see any of our com­mu­ni­ties not hav­ing fes­tive lights.”

Coun­cil­lor Brian Top­ping said it was an “in­sult” to those who work to dec­o­rate their com­mu­ni­ties.

He said: “I am very sur­prised, if not as­ton­ished, that the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­tu­ally al­lowed this re­port to see the light of day.

“As for the coun­cil want­ing to charge for elec­tric­ity to op­er­ate Christ­mas lights in our com­mu­ni­ties, to me it is an ab­so­lute in­sult to the kind-hearted, hard­work­ing vol­un­teers who freely give up their valu­able time year af­ter year.”

The coun­cil said the pos­si­ble pol­icy was in­tended to cre­ate a con­sis­tent ap­proach to al­low them to con­trol fu­ture costs.

The lo­cal au­thor­ity will dis­cuss the idea next year.

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