Traders leader defends Ashley Road Christmas lights after criticisms

Bournemouth Echo: DOING THEIR BIT: Ashley Road Traders’ Association chairman Richard Wilson with members and supporters of the group DOING THEIR BIT: Ashley Road Traders’ Association chairman Richard Wilson with members and supporters of the group

A TRADERS’ leader on Parkstone’s Ashley Road has defended the area’s Christmas decorations.

Richard Wilson, chairman of Ashley Road Traders’ Association, hit back after a series of letters in the Daily Echo complaining that there were no illuminations on the mile-long high street.

Many complained that the council should have funded illuminations.

But Mr Wilson – who last year organised the area’s the first Christmas tree lights switch-on in recent memory – said traders had done all they could.

He said the council did not fund illuminations.

“There’s no tradition for the council to do it. “In previous years there’s never been a call for it, so hence there’s no budget,” he said.

“We’ve revitalised things a little bit and we do it ourselves.

“If traders want it, they have to help out and fund it.”

He praised Haven Lettings, who had sponsored this year’s tree outside St John’s Church, and Waitrose, who helped out with £200 under its community engagement scheme.

A number of businesses have put miniature Christmas trees above their shop fronts.

And he saluted Poole council’s street scene team, who came to the rescue when the hole on the site turned out to be the wrong size for the tree.

“If it wasn’t for the council, we wouldn’t have got the tree up,” said Mr Wilson.

He added: “I have had people coming up to me and saying ‘Thank you very much for everything you’ve done, it looks good’.

“That’s the majority opinion.”

He said there were now 50 members of the traders’ association.

Ashley Road is organising a carnival next year which will raise more money for the 2014 lights.

Ashley Road Traders aim to “take back control of our high street”.

To find out more, visit ashleyroadtraders.org.uk

Comments (8)

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4:17pm Fri 20 Dec 13

pete woodley says...

Still unemployed Mr Wilson ?.
Still unemployed Mr Wilson ?. pete woodley

5:19pm Fri 20 Dec 13

SeafaringMan says...

There was a letter in this weeks 'freebie' advertiser complaining that the tree was not sufficiently decorated. I would say to this 'gentleman'; if you don't like it, stop complaining, roll your sleeves up and offer to help!
There was a letter in this weeks 'freebie' advertiser complaining that the tree was not sufficiently decorated. I would say to this 'gentleman'; if you don't like it, stop complaining, roll your sleeves up and offer to help! SeafaringMan

5:21pm Fri 20 Dec 13

SeafaringMan says...

pete woodley wrote:
Still unemployed Mr Wilson ?.
What a nasty, sneering comment. I see that the Spirit of Christmas is lacking in your house Mr Wordley (miss-spelling intentional).
[quote][p][bold]pete woodley[/bold] wrote: Still unemployed Mr Wilson ?.[/p][/quote]What a nasty, sneering comment. I see that the Spirit of Christmas is lacking in your house Mr Wordley (miss-spelling intentional). SeafaringMan

5:53pm Fri 20 Dec 13

MJD says...

In my opinion Parkstone and Poole Christmas lights are crap compared to Bournemouth..
In my opinion Parkstone and Poole Christmas lights are crap compared to Bournemouth.. MJD

6:30pm Fri 20 Dec 13

pete woodley says...

SeafaringMan wrote:
pete woodley wrote:
Still unemployed Mr Wilson ?.
What a nasty, sneering comment. I see that the Spirit of Christmas is lacking in your house Mr Wordley (miss-spelling intentional).
Wonder why you took the bait so easly ?why the nasty comments about "shelfstacker",mr ashmour,and others who have not agreed.Talk about the bullies in parkstone,at least some of us give our name,and have a right to make comments,why was mike hunts name revealed,that is nasty tactics.
[quote][p][bold]SeafaringMan[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pete woodley[/bold] wrote: Still unemployed Mr Wilson ?.[/p][/quote]What a nasty, sneering comment. I see that the Spirit of Christmas is lacking in your house Mr Wordley (miss-spelling intentional).[/p][/quote]Wonder why you took the bait so easly ?why the nasty comments about "shelfstacker",mr ashmour,and others who have not agreed.Talk about the bullies in parkstone,at least some of us give our name,and have a right to make comments,why was mike hunts name revealed,that is nasty tactics. pete woodley

6:33pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Tictock says...

Ashley Road has the largest number of retail outlets in the Council area, generating many £££ of business rates and they, (the Council), studiously avoid any acknowledgement or support, be it funding or other. Shame on you!
Ashley Road has the largest number of retail outlets in the Council area, generating many £££ of business rates and they, (the Council), studiously avoid any acknowledgement or support, be it funding or other. Shame on you! Tictock

7:03pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Jeff in Parkstone says...

Richard and team .... Poole Council have given grants in the past. 2006 to 2008 that was £3,500 - at the time that covered the cost of installation and removal of the lights. And same grant was available over all the years ...

As matters are now as far as I know Poole is one of the few councils that do not now give financial support - at least to cover lights installation and removal costs. I know some areas it is the businesses that manage it all but that surely no reason why a council should not or cannot step forward and offer financial support.

Poole have orgnaised funding of £1.5 million for refurb of Poole Park cafe, another £2.5 million grant applied for for the park, and that on top of some £400,000 spent on the duck ponds a few years back.

So no doubt in my mind our council could and should be prepared to list public Christmas lights in a major public retail area as a priority of at least equal worth to public duck ponds.

Ashley Road - the road itself - along the with pavements, the lammposts, and all the high street amenities, are owned and managed by council. And so too they should be managing public Christmas lights amenities - if not fully funding then at least Cllrs for Ashley Road putting in the hours and work to organise the funds - from the nationals, and banks - along with what sole traders can manage.

So I really don't know how you can say “In previous years there’s never been a call for it" - "it" being the grant. People in Upper Parkstone have been crying out for lights year on year since the last time it all lapsed - and council & Cllrs know full well there used to be grants. And indeed there were lights - very expensive lights that cost £7,000 bought in 2006 but for reasons I don't lnow council or whoever had them in storage managed to ruin them - and that is shocking chronic waste of good lights.

All credit to all who have made an effort this year and very good indeed of Andy Smith of Haven Lettings to fund the tree (I called in and thanked him myself a week ago) but sorry you (Richard) seem to be buying in to council's party line that there is "no tradition" of council funding when there certainly is huge tradition of councils and Cllrs organising and funding public amenities - including Christmas lights.

And I can tell you local people - residents, shoppers, staff working in shops - are very disappointed indeed. So I don't know how you can say the "majority view" is that everyone is happy. They are not Richard - there is respect for what has been done but it falls very far short of what should be achieved for a major retail high street with a dozen national stores. And that prime lead responsibility in my books falls quarely on public Cllrs and Poole Council.

But then this issue has been in play for ten years now so I don't expect any change in approach from Cllrs/council but maybe we can get it on manifestors next elections that lead funding for public Christmas lights in a public high street is a priority at least equal to funding of public duck ponds ... something along those lines ...

In the end as one shop owner said today the Christmas impact of Ashley Road is very low indeed - and that in comparison with any high street in Dorset from Lyme Regis to Winton to Christchurch as far anyone knows. No-one wants to hear ciriticism but nothing moves forward unless there is common agreement that better is needed - and I do speak from having helped set it all up in 2006/08 - I know it turned into a full time job for many months - and that was with £3.5K from council and same from Waitrose .. and that is what is needed, and a lot more ...

Regards ....

Jeff Williams

Jubilee Road Residents Association - meaning these views here express the huge disappointment of many families in and around our local roads in Upper Parkstone.
Richard and team .... Poole Council have given grants in the past. 2006 to 2008 that was £3,500 - at the time that covered the cost of installation and removal of the lights. And same grant was available over all the years ... As matters are now as far as I know Poole is one of the few councils that do not now give financial support - at least to cover lights installation and removal costs. I know some areas it is the businesses that manage it all but that surely no reason why a council should not or cannot step forward and offer financial support. Poole have orgnaised funding of £1.5 million for refurb of Poole Park cafe, another £2.5 million grant applied for for the park, and that on top of some £400,000 spent on the duck ponds a few years back. So no doubt in my mind our council could and should be prepared to list public Christmas lights in a major public retail area as a priority of at least equal worth to public duck ponds. Ashley Road - the road itself - along the with pavements, the lammposts, and all the high street amenities, are owned and managed by council. And so too they should be managing public Christmas lights amenities - if not fully funding then at least Cllrs for Ashley Road putting in the hours and work to organise the funds - from the nationals, and banks - along with what sole traders can manage. So I really don't know how you can say “In previous years there’s never been a call for it" - "it" being the grant. People in Upper Parkstone have been crying out for lights year on year since the last time it all lapsed - and council & Cllrs know full well there used to be grants. And indeed there were lights - very expensive lights that cost £7,000 bought in 2006 but for reasons I don't lnow council or whoever had them in storage managed to ruin them - and that is shocking chronic waste of good lights. All credit to all who have made an effort this year and very good indeed of Andy Smith of Haven Lettings to fund the tree (I called in and thanked him myself a week ago) but sorry you (Richard) seem to be buying in to council's party line that there is "no tradition" of council funding when there certainly is huge tradition of councils and Cllrs organising and funding public amenities - including Christmas lights. And I can tell you local people - residents, shoppers, staff working in shops - are very disappointed indeed. So I don't know how you can say the "majority view" is that everyone is happy. They are not Richard - there is respect for what has been done but it falls very far short of what should be achieved for a major retail high street with a dozen national stores. And that prime lead responsibility in my books falls quarely on public Cllrs and Poole Council. But then this issue has been in play for ten years now so I don't expect any change in approach from Cllrs/council but maybe we can get it on manifestors next elections that lead funding for public Christmas lights in a public high street is a priority at least equal to funding of public duck ponds ... something along those lines ... In the end as one shop owner said today the Christmas impact of Ashley Road is very low indeed - and that in comparison with any high street in Dorset from Lyme Regis to Winton to Christchurch as far anyone knows. No-one wants to hear ciriticism but nothing moves forward unless there is common agreement that better is needed - and I do speak from having helped set it all up in 2006/08 - I know it turned into a full time job for many months - and that was with £3.5K from council and same from Waitrose .. and that is what is needed, and a lot more ... Regards .... Jeff Williams Jubilee Road Residents Association - meaning these views here express the huge disappointment of many families in and around our local roads in Upper Parkstone. Jeff in Parkstone

7:48pm Fri 20 Dec 13

pete woodley says...

For once Jeff i agree with you on many points,its no good relying on the council,its the traders themselves who got to make a better effort.
For once Jeff i agree with you on many points,its no good relying on the council,its the traders themselves who got to make a better effort. pete woodley

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