SWAFFHAM: Bid to resolve switch-on ‘row’
A ‘clear the air’ meeting has been held between representatives from Swaffham Town Council and Swaffham Business Forum over differences about the town’s 2012 Christmas lights switch-on event.
In a joint press release, the two groups say many of the differences have now been resolved amicably after a full and frank discussion – but the forum is stepping back from organising and promoting future switch-on events.
Differences arose after the council voted to support a late request for a funfair, organised by councillor Stewart Bell, at the Pedlars car park on the same evening as the forum’s switch-on event in the Market Place.
At the December 12 council meeting, forum chairman Chris Parsons expressed his members’ disappointment with the council’s decision as this adversely affected its event that had involved eight months of planning.
At a recent joint meeting, the council congratulated the forum on the show of Christmas lights and praised its work in raising Swaffham’s profile and what its businesses have to offer.
The council, forum and Advance Swaffham Action Group are also forming a three-way partnership, meeting for the first time in early February, to tackle major issues in the town like empty shops.
Town Mayor Terry Jennison said: “It is time now for both organisations to rise above what was their first major disagreement since the business forum was formed two years ago... We have to respect each others position and let democracy take its course.”
She said both organisations wanted Swaffham to thrive and perhaps better communication was needed.
Mr Parsons said: “We would like to continue with the provision of Christmas lights in the town, but we have agreed that we would not wish to undertake the organisation and promotion of a switch-on event.
“This leaves the way clear for anyone who wishes to do so to organise and promote an appropriate event, with which we would be pleased to participate and cooperate.”
“We will continue to work with the town council on many fronts, as we have always done. The empty shops issue is of paramount importance and together we can make a difference.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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