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Christmas Lights - Information   ()

Pateley Bridge Town Council (Parish of High and Low Bishopside) has a three-year Christmas Lights Funding Framework Agreement with Harrogate Borough Council.

The Agreement and what Harrogate provides:

§  HBC give core funding of £1,500 with match funding up to £1,000 – a total of £2,500.

§  HBC pays for electricity up to £200 per season; it is an unmetred supply, so Pateley Bridge Town Council supplies information to HBC about electrical loading and consumption.

§  Parks & Gardens provides and erects the two big Christmas trees, but this is outside of the Funding Agreement and may not continue.  Each tree costs approx. £400 which Pateley Bridge may have to bear in years to come.

§  In accordance with the Funding Agreement, the Council has to comply with the PLG Guidance on Installation and Maintenance of Season Decorations and Lighting Column Attachments.  The Clerk is obviously not qualified to carry out this role so a professional firm has to be contracted – the days of local volunteers wobbling about on tall ladders to install lights is long gone for reasons of Health & Safety and Public Liability.

The Purpose of the Fund

HBC recorded 39 retail businesses in Pateley Bridge; one of the purposes of the funding framework – apart from transferring management from HBC to the parish council - is to promote shopping in the district towns and HBC would like local businesses to be part of the match funding process.  Pateley Bridge Town Council is therefore very grateful for the co-ordination provided by the Spar and the generous contributions of local businesses and shops.

What the Council already owns

The Council owns just under £4,000 worth of lights plus their infrastructure, including the ‘winter lighting’ on the trees at Southlands, the lights on the cherry tree at the top of the High Street, the lights on the two big Christmas trees, the lights across the river bridge, some lights in Glasshouses, and the two cross street blue and white star banners on the High Street.  These are commercial grade lights which are obviously more costly than domestic ones.  It also agreed to take over ownership of some lights belonging to the Nidderdale Festival, but these are no longer functioning and have had to be replaced.

Annual costs and what the Council will spend this year

The annual costs of providing lighting include storage out of season, PAT testing, installation and dismantling; the maintenance costs can vary depending on weather and, unfortunately, vandalism.  These costs account for the major part of the HBC funding, before any capital expenditure for new lights.

This year the Council expects to spend £5,750 and has received £2,500 from HBC and £2,250 from the community fundraising.  This means that £1,000 will come from the Council’s reserves.

The current situation

The money received from HBC is paid to Pateley Bridge Town Council, but this year the Council decided that it would like to include the shops across the river in Bewerley Parish, which although a different parish, is of course part of the town, and importantly, and very much appreciated, as those businesses also contributed to the fundraising.

A scheme was agreed with the contractors and although they had quoted for ‘dressing’ the trees in the Recreation Ground, they ‘branch wrapped’ the trees which was universally unpopular and very disappointing, and this will be changed.

New for this year will be a lighting scheme in the five amelanchier trees on the top wall of Southlands car park.

The Future

The Council and the representatives of the community fundraising group have identified other locations which they would like to include in the lighting scheme next year and the year after that, so that all parts of the town are represented.  Although this year has got off to a disappointing start, the Council hopes that fundraising will continue next year and that it will have the support of the town.