Marlborough's Christmas lights need support - actual and financial
The future of Marlborough's Christmas lights has been assured after a vote by councillors at the full meeting of Marlborough Town Council on Monday (June 27.)
However, there are extra expenses this year which means the council has to find an extra £9,000 on top of the sum they have in this year’s budget for the lights.
It has been discovered that some of the anchor fixings that hold the cables to buildings along the High Street are not secure enough. And one High Street owner has said they no longer want to have the lights attached to their building.
This will involve extra work by the contractors.
In addition to the normal annual charges for storing, servicing and putting up the lights, this year luminescent bulbs have to be changed to LED lights. This will involve a one-off cost of £4,720 - some of which may be re-covered from energy saving grant money.
Some councillors were keen to get part of the extra costs covered by retailers. But it was pointed out that many multiple stores are not interested in community matters, and it would be unfair to expect the independent retailers to pick up the full costs.
Councillor Bryan Castle: "I am not happy about the principle of us paying everything." He wanted a plan to get "...others, especially the traders, to subscribe to the costs." He added that he was "...very impressed with what the community was doing for Marlborough in Bloom."
Councillor Justin Cook agreed, saying that retailers should be expected to pay between 20 and 25 per cent of the costs - perhaps, he ventured, through the Chamber of Commerce.
One way or another the Council is going to be doing some urgent fund raising.
George Lane Car Park Toilets
These have now been handed over by Wiltshire Council to the town council. And councillors and the town clerk have taken the advice of the British Toilets Association (BTA) on the design for the re-vamped toilets.
The BTA is proposing the toilets should be re-designed to include 3-4 direct access (that is with no central lobby) unisex toilets - including a disabled facility - with a small charge for use.
Further work will be done to see if a 'personal care room' could be included. This would have the advantage of reducing the business rate bill and could attract funding. But the Council may have to take out a 'public works loan' to cover the costs - especially as there is a delay in the sale of the Chantry Lane toilets.
Recognising the Council's lack of expertise in this area, a project manager will be employed.
Councillor Alexander Kirk Wilson thought that pedestal toilets rather than urinals would waste too much water. No one picked up this point.
Some further details have now been made available to Marlborough.News: the BTA report says that the toilets could be put out to tender and completed by October. But if an extension is to be included - for a tourist information point and a coach drivers' rest room - that additional building work would take until April 2017. The report suggests a 20p charge which could rtaise £8,000 a uear on the estimated usage of the toilets. But no estimates of likely costs of this work is being revealed.
Jo Cox MP
At the start of the meeting, after prayers were said by Dr Janneke Blokland, the Town Mayor, Councillor Noel Barrett-Morton called for one minute's silence to remember and mark the killing of the Labour Member of Parliament Jo Cox who was going about constituency business when she was attacked.