- Meeting of Coalville Special Expenses Working Party, Tuesday, 13th October, 2020 6.30 pm (Item 12.)
- View the declarations of interest for item 12.
- View the background to item 12.
Report of the Cultural Services Team Manager
Wendy May, Cultural Services Team Manager presented the report.
The Cultural Services Team Manager highlighted several of the key themes of the report, including the impact of COVID-19 leading to a number of events being cancelled or scaled back. The report also went through areas of concern in preparation for Christmas in Coalville such as difficulties in signing traders and the uncertainty caused by the potential for local restrictions being imposed due to COVID-19. It was observed that nationally many similar Christmas events had already been cancelled.
It was also recommended that the Working Party consider utilising the underspend from the 2020/21 Events budget by asking Cabinet to allocate £30,000 from Coalville Special Expenses funding to make a significant and timely investment in the Christmas Lights for 2021.
Attention was also drawn to the Coalville Special Expenses Community Grant which was anticipated to be re-instated by the end of October. Members were encouraged to promote the availability of the scheme and the wider programme of grants within their wards.
The Chairman thanked the Cultural Services Team Manager for her report and opened up the discussion to Members.
Members were supportive of the recommendation to seek funding of £30,000 from Cabinet for the purposes of investing in new stock for Coalville Christmas Lights.
Several Members raised concerns with the proposal including the importance of securing good value for money through a competitive process, the costs of storing and maintaining the stock, ensuring lights would not quickly become old or out of date, and whether these issues could be resolved by hiring Christmas lights rather than buying them outright.
The Cultural Services Team Manager assured Members that their concerns would be taken into account and that through a competitive process with several firms applying, it was hoped several different options would be available, which would help address these concerns.
In response to several questions from Members, the Cultural Services Team Manager explained that work to install the lights for Christmas in Coalville 2020 had already begun which would alleviate the risk of COVID-19 leading to work being left incomplete. A decision would also be imminent on which events would take place or be scaled back if required due to further COVID-19 restrictions.
A discussion was also held regarding the placement of a Christmas Tree at Marlborough Square due to issues that had taken place last year as a result of vandalism. Despite aesthetic concerns, Members broadly spoke in support of maintaining a tree at that location, having considered factors such as the availability of other locations, costs and the reliability of the supplier in previous years.
It was moved by Councillor A Black, seconded by Councillor M French and by affirmation of the meeting
The Working Party:
1) Notes the Progress Update on 2020/21 Events
2) Supports the proposed Event Programme for 2021/22 (Subject to Budget Approvals in February 2021)
3) Confirms membership of the Events Sub Group for 2021 as Councillors E Allman, A Black, D Everitt, M French, J Geary and M Wyatt
RECOMMENDED TO CABINET THAT
4) Approval be given for the allocation of a maximum of £30,000 from balances for investment in Coalville Christmas Lights