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Traders' anger after Kidderminster festive lights left switched off
‘We feel neglected’: Kevin Barker of Simply Charming said Christmas lights outside his shop were not switched on during the holiday period. Picture: MIRIAM BALFRY. 011305M
A KIDDERMINSTER town centre trader says he feels “neglected” by Wyre Forest District Council after Christmas lights outside a number of shops were unable to be switched on.
Two decorative illuminated harps were fixed to lampposts on Coventry Street and Blackwell Street, outside Simply Charming and Uppercrust respectively, but they remained unlit during the festive period and could not even be plugged in.
Wyre Forest town centres manager, Peter Michael, said there was not an unwillingness of the council to turn the lights on.
“Unfortunately the necessary connections were not in the lamppost which we expected them to be but we will fix it for next year,” he added.
The council signed a three-year deal with a specialist illuminations company worth £60,000 to improve last year’s decorations after 2011’s lights were criticised.
Kevin Barker, owner of Simply Charming, said: “We have got two massive Christmas decorations that the council obviously spent money on and they have not plugged them in. They must have cost a great deal to buy.
“It would have been nice to get them turned on because this part of town has started to regenerate.
If you look down Worcester Street, there are empty shops and yet there are Christmas lights on down there.
“This is the start of town, where people come in from Birmingham.
It has certainly not looked like Christmas at all – it was terrible.”
Mr Barker said he felt the incident “summed up” the council’s attitude towards town centre traders.
“They need to support people like us – small businesses in Kidderminster,” he added.
“This just shows there is still waste within our council – if it was a business it would have gone bankrupt.”
Ceri Owen, of The Wash House on Blackwell Street, added: “You can get people into town with the Christmas lights. Traders are very disappointed.”
Mr Michael added: “With the budget I had, I had to make a decision as to how far we go.
“The lights were not cheap but there was a big improvement on 2011.