Councillor blasts Christmas lights 'fiasco' in Boston an 'omnishambles' - and reveals cost of council's tree

Residents angry at the lack of festive lights in the town this year are now fuming at revelations the council’s new Christmas tree cost £11,790.
The new Christmas tree in the Market Place pictured before its lights came on.The new Christmas tree in the Market Place pictured before its lights came on.
The new Christmas tree in the Market Place pictured before its lights came on.

Locals have blasted the lack of official Christmas illuminations in the town centre ‘a shambles’ – and say the cost of the 8m-high artificial tree is ‘disgusting’.

The tree, traditionally located near the Herbert Ingram memorial near the iconic Stump, has now been re-located to the Market Place, near KFC.

It has bought by the council and Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) – with the cost over the next two years expected to total £22,290.

Boston Borough Council says the lack of Christmas lights this year is simply down to cost – but others, including local councillors, claim their handling of the illuminations has been a disaster.

Skirbeck ward councillor Anne Dorrian shared letters detailing the cost of the Christmas tree on Facebook.

She wrote: “This as a complete and utter omnishambles. Let’s make sure this is never allowed to happen again.”

Residents commenting on her post have expressed their anger. One wrote: “Oh my god, I’m disgusted! A total shambles, even more so in this current climate.”

The Christmas in Boston (CiB) group, which is largely made up of volunteer electricians, were forced to abandon their plans for illuminations in the town this year. An ongoing dispute with the council then followed.

The group had been providing Christmas lights for the town since 2017.

Speaking to the Standard, Coun Dorrian said: “The Christmas in Boston team have served the town extremely well for the past five years I am really disappointed they have been overlooked this year.

“The plastic 8m tree is clearly not what the people of Boston want an d the poor execution of this project has left folk feeling tremendously angry and dismayed.

"I’ve read many comments saying that councillors should hang their head in shame, well I can assure you that I am thoroughly ashamed of this entire fiasco. I am also extremely sorry for our local retailers and traders, especially if this has had a detrimental impact on their businesses at what should have been their busiest time of year. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to them and to all the residents of Skirbeck Ward. This year, I was powerless to stop this debacle but going forward, I want to make sure that this is never allowed to happen again.”

We asked Boston Borough Council for a comment.

Coun Paul Skinner, leader of council, said: “We appreciate and recognise that the lack of Christmas lights has drawn criticism from a number of people in the town. It is, however, important for people to understand that cuts to funding was agreed by Members as part of the annual Budget in 2016, Boston Borough Council agreed to continue funding the tree and that the Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) would raise funds for the lights. As part of that agreement with BTAC, the group of volunteers were advised that they would have to be self-funded in three years, if the group broke up for any reason the lights would be returned to BTAC.

"It’s never an easy decision for any Council to cut funding. But in order for our vital services to continue working the best they can for residents, difficult decisions have to be made and unfortunately, this is one of them.”