Finances fall foul of full Christmas lights plan for Newton Stewart

Once again Victoria Street puts on her Christmas hat. GG 0312001 12
Once again Victoria Street puts on her Christmas hat. GG 0312001 12

Plans to install electricity points and repair Newton Stewart’s Christmas lights have had to be given a rethink this week.

Cree Valley Community Council, which manages and fundraise for the lights, had hoped to install external plug sockets on the walls of some buildings down the main street.

But quotes from two local electrical companies has forced the council to reconsider the plans.

At a special meeting of the council on Tuesday night, following detailed discussion of the costs involved, it was instead decided to ask for quotes for the fitting of a reduced number of external sockets and use the remaining money in the pot to repair some damaged lights along with seven others which weren’t used last year due to their poor state.

External sockets would allow ease of access to fit the lights and remove them annually without having to gain access to each property and wire them through. However, it was pointed out that some properties may need planning permission for this.

With just £3,500 of council funds available and the lowest quote of £3,400 for installation of new sockets and hanging of lights but no repairs, members agreed to spend cash on much-needed repairs and hang the lights themselves once again, despite criticism over the lack of help from the community.

Bob Boan said: “Three years ago, we wrote to every electrician in thetown asking for a few hours of help but didn’t receive one reply.”

Clifford Smithers asked if it was worth repairing the lights. He said: “Where does it end? If we just keep paying for repairs year after year, we’ll never have money left.”

But Robert Sneddon said: “If we start doing that, we’ll end up with nothing more than a candle in the McMillan Hall.”

Members agreed not to hang lights on the Cree Bridge after vandals repeatedly attacked them last year.

It was also decided to ask for £2,300 from the Carsecreugh Windfarm community fund.

Another meeting of the council will take place on Monday at 7.15pm in classroom A1, DEHS.