Poll: Is Lewisham Council being Scrooge-like by not putting up Christmas tree in town centre? (From News Shopper)
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Poll: Is Lewisham Council being Scrooge-like by not putting up Christmas tree in town centre?
LEWISHAM Council has been labelled "Scrooge-like" for not putting up a Christmas tree in Lewisham town centre.
Funding for the tree, which usually stands in Lewisham High Street, could not be found from local businesses this year while the council says there is no Christmas budget.
Resident Matt Smith has slammed the council's ‘bah humbug’ attitude saying more should have been done to encourage shoppers into the town centre.
The 41-year-old, who lives off Lewisham High Street, said: "It isn’t doing anything for Christmas in Lewisham.
"We are crying out for people to go out in our high street stores and spend locally and not go to the big shopping centres.
"I felt slightly beyond disgust, but it is a sign of the times - how much does a Christmas tree cost?
"It’s been there every year and then this year, nothing, and I just thought it was really strange.
"I thought ‘bah humbug’."
The theatre producer contacted the council when he first spotted the tree’s absence.
An email reply from the Mayor of Lewisham’s office read: "Unfortunately there will not be a Christmas tree in Lewisham town centre this year.
"Officers have approached local businesses and the local assembly for funding but sadly no monies were secured.
"Suffice to say, given that Lewisham has to find at least £85m cuts over the next three years, there is no separate budget for Christmas trees."
A spokesman for the council said: "“The government’s squeeze on public spending has meant that the Council has had to make some tough decisions on its spending priorities.
“One of the savings implemented has meant that for the last three years, there has been no funding for Christmas trees.
“Community organisations, local businesses and Local Assemblies work together to secure funding to provide trees where possible.
“If requested, the council has ordered trees and arranged for installation and decoration on behalf of those groups who have raised funds.
“Unfortunately, no sponsorship or funding was available for a tree in Lewisham town centre this year."
What do you think? Is the council right to be frugal or is it being stingy? Add your comments below and vote in our poll.
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