The Town & Community Committee have recommended to spend £9,000 on new dual-purpose Christmas tree and flag pole brackets to be installed in 150 locations around town this week.
The brackets costing £60+VAT will be custom made by local fabricator JR Hills & Sons so that they fit into the original fixing locations and therefore do not require listed building consents for many of the locations that would delay the installation. Unlike the original brackets, they will be left up all year round and the installation cost is included in the contract with Council’s Christmas lighting contractor. JR Hills have confirmed that they should be able to deliver the brackets by the end of September latest.
Town Clerk, Sheridan Jacklin-Edwards told the committee that they needed to replace 100 brackets that went missing through a former contractor. This matter is being chased by the Finance, Strategy and Management Committee.
Rather than asking individual businesses to purchase a tree each year, the new tree scheme would be funded upfront by the Town Council but it is hoped it will be offset by a new sponsorship scheme for the Christmas Festival. Many retailers last year complained about the quality of the trees that were installed at a cost to them of £60 (this was subsidised by the Council by £60). Costings for the trees will be presented at a future Council meeting.
There were delays in many of the lights being switched on too last year by 1 December which Henley Town Council requested to the new contractors. The festoon lighting across the streets were not switched on ready for the Christmas Festival.