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Traders leader defends Ashley Road Christmas lights after criticisms
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
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