This holiday season, no Christmas decorations have been put up in the town of Boston, Lincolnshire, due to budget cuts and the council instead installed a bare artificial tree that has cost taxpayers over £20,000. Local residents have been upset by the lack of festive cheer, and some spoke to Lincolnshire Live to call the new tree “rubbish” and a “disgrace”.
The Mayor of Boston, Councillor Anne Dorrian, called the situation a “complete and utter omnishambles” after the bare artificial tree was put up in the town with no lights or baubles.
The eight-foot artificial tree has a wired star on top and is surrounded by signs at the bottom for protection.
Other than that no other Christmas decorations can be seen in the town’s marketplace.
On Facebook, the Mayor shared a document that revealed how much the new Christmas tree has cost taxpayers in order to be “transparent” with local residents.
It was revealed that the tree will cost taxpayers a total of £22,290 over a two-year period.
Boston Borough Council said “difficult decisions” had to be made due to recent funding cuts.
Residents from Boston spoke with LincolnshireLive to express their concerns about the town’s lack of festive cheer.
Local Kaye Brown called the artificial Christmas tree “a disgrace”.
She said: “It’s a poor show, it’s not attracting people to the town or getting anyone in the Christmas spirit.”
The resident added: “When the volunteer electricians did the lights, there was a really good show on which I think attracted thousands of people to the town centre, but where is everyone this year? It’s very sad.
“I hope they accept the volunteers’ offer next year and get it back to where it should be. It’s nothing like it used to be.”
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Local Councillor Paul Skinner said: “We appreciate and recognise that the lack of Christmas lights has drawn criticism from a number of people in the town.
“It is, however, important for people to understand that cuts to funding was agreed by Members as part of the annual Budget in 2016, Boston Borough Council agreed to continue funding the tree and that the Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) would raise funds for the lights.
“As part of that agreement with BTAC, the group of volunteers were advised that they would have to be self-funded in three years, if the group broke up for any reason the lights would be returned to BTAC.
“It’s never an easy decision for any Council to cut funding. But in order for our vital services to continue working the best they can for residents, difficult decisions have to be made and unfortunately, this is one of them.”
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Resident Helen Wright said the Christmas tree “looks rubbish” and added “it’s all just really bad”.
She said: “One late night shopping I heard a little girl crying saying ‘where are the Christmas lights?’. If Spalding and other places can make the effort then why can’t we?”
Terry Dawson said: “It’s the way things are going now in Boston, everything seems to be negative. Our council don’t seem to have a voice in putting Boston forward.”
Mr Dawson has lived in and around Boston for his entire life, but currently resides nearby in Wyberton.
He said he is “fed up” with other towns receiving more “effort and energy”.
Dawson added: “It’s a market town that’s always had a lot of good character and it’s just disappeared. The town has lost its soul, it really has.
“I’m fed up of hearing about other places, some smaller than Boston, getting more effort and energy. If I was to use the word ‘dead’, I think that would just about sum it up.”