David Phillips, Town Centre and Cultural Manager, to advise the Panel on the success of the Christmas activity carried out in the Borough in 2017, including the community event in North Town and the shop front competition, and to introduce the proposals for Christmas 2018.
John Trusler, Principal Engineer, to report on the cost of a permanent tree and lights in North Camp and on the outcome of any discussions held with Princes Mead and Kingsmead on the joint procurement of Christmas lights and potential costs involved.
David Phillips, Town Centre and Cultural Manager, and Jenny Atherton, Town Centre and Events Officer, attended the meeting to provide a review of the Christmas activity carried out in the Borough in 2017. The total budget for all of the events across the Borough had been £11,000, there had been an additional £3,250 raised in sponsorship and grants.
Events in Aldershot had included:
· Christmas Lights Switch-On – Saturday 18th November
· Christmas Craft Fayres - Saturday 2nd and 9th December
· Aldershot Communities Together (ACT) Christmas Festival – 3 weekends of activities leading up to Christmas including ‘Community Christmas Celebration’ on Saturday 9th December, ‘Light Up Aldershot Day and Lantern Procession’ on Saturday 16th December and ‘ACT Festival & Carol Concert’ on Saturday 23rd December
The ACT activities had been organised by the ACT sub group of 15 volunteers. There had been £3,000 allocated to the three weekends of activity, all of which had been well attended. Also in Aldershot had been the North Town Carols on 20th December which had been led by Cllr Keith Dibble and sponsored by Vivid, which attracted approximately 100 visitors.
Events in Farnborough had included:
· Farnborough Frost Fair – Saturday 18th November which had also coincided with the Princes Mead lights switch-on
· Magical Elf Trail – Saturday 2nd December which had involved ten retailers across Queensmead, Princes Mead and The Meads
· Christmas Fun Day – Saturday 9th December
· Craft Fayre and Brass Band – Saturday 16th December
In addition there had been a best Christmas shop window display competition which had been open to retailers across the whole Borough. The judging had been led by ACT volunteers and photographs had been taken of all shops which had Christmas window displays of which there had been over 200.
The Panel discussed the cost of a permanent tree and lights in North Camp which had been requested at the meeting in September 2017. The Panel was advised that due to the Council’s financial commitments and, as the provision of a tree and lights was currently not a Council priority or on the Cabinet’s work programme, it would not be possible to be funded by the Council. One suggestion was to bid for funding from Blanchere Illuminations UK or through sponsorship from local businesses. Jenny Atherton offered to facilitate the bid for lights. If the bid was successful the location of the lights would need to be agreed although the preferred option was for neighbourhood centres rather than the main town centres.
David Phillips and Jenny Atherton had already met with the Princes Mead Centre Manager who had indicated that Princes Mead would be keen to work with The Meads, Queensmead and other partners on future Christmas activity.
Cllr Keith Dibble thanked Jenny Atherton for her help with the North Town Carols event which had been very well received by the community and local businesses had got involved. The Panel was advised that, if other neighbourhood areas were interested in setting up something similar, it was important to get local businesses on board.
The PANEL noted the Christmas 2017 review and AGREED the proposed action for additional lights/trees.
Action to be taken
Facilitate the Blanchere bid for Christmas lights.
Work to be carried out with John Trusler, the Council’s Principal Engineer, to explore the possibility of a Christmas tree in Farnborough and North Camp.
Encourage Princes Mead and The Meads to explore other options for additional Christmas lights/trees.