Crunch time over Ottery Christmas lights

IT’S crunch time over hopes Ottery will sparkle with festive lights this Christmas.

Civic leaders and town commerce chiefs this week vowed to do all they can to avoid a feared yuletide black-out.

The new chairman of Ottery Chamber of Commerce told the Herald the organisation was on the verge of deciding whether it can commit to the December display, but has �1,100 at its disposal.

Town councillors last month voiced concern the Chamber wouldn’t be able to chip in for this year’s lights.

The council has �3,000 set aside for the display, and has been given a boost by fundraising Tourist Information Centre manager, Phyllis Baxter, who’s been asking businesses to boost the coffers and has been buoyed by the response. “The town can’t be without lights,” she said.

Council and chamber cash is traditionally used to employ a lighting firm which provides and erects the lights.

“As a town council we precept 75per cent of the cost. I’m confident we’re going to have them,” said mayor Glyn Dobson.

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The council will discuss the matter at its full meeting on Monday. A suggestion to splash public money on just decorating the Old Convent received a mixed response from councillors last month.

“We are trying to get there and will make every effort to get them,” said Chamber of Commerce chairman Marc Perkins, who thinks the town should invest in its own lights.

“Let’s have a big hit of cost in one go and have the lights forever,” he said. “We hope businesses can put their hands in their pockets and give us a boost. Once we’ve bought them we’ve bought them. We have got to pull our finger out, time is running on. By the end of this week we will have made our mind up whether we can do it or not.”