For the past few years, due to the severity of central Government cuts to its budget, Knowsley Council was unable to provide funding for Christmas lights or pay for switch-on events in its town centres. During this time, Prescot Town Council allocated a small budget to provide lights and an event in the town, but feedback from local residents and businesses suggested that something on a more impressive scale was needed to reflect the current vibrancy of the town centre.
This year, given a number of factors, including the incredible revival of Prescot Town Centre thanks to significant investment from the Knowsley Borough Council, other public sector partners and the private sector, Knowsley Council took the decision to invest in a much-enhanced Christmas light display and switch-on event.
These plans were spurred on by the collaborative spirit of the town’s traders, who have been working together in partnership with Knowsley Council on initiatives to enhance the town and benefit their businesses collectively. This positive approach saw The Prescot Business Club, made up of representatives from the various businesses in the town, successfully win £10,000 of lighting for the town centre in a competition earlier this year. The prize not only included money to put towards lighting but also a live performance by the band The Jersey’s at a switch-on event.
In organising the event, Knowsley Council invited Prescot Town Council to partner together and pool resources and enable the town to enjoy an even bigger and better event and lighting display. The Town Council declined this offer and stated its intention to use its own budget to stage its own event. Earlier this year, Knowsley Council officers advised the Town Council of the relevant permissions and licences that would be required and as the Town Council’s proposed event would include music being played, Knowsley Council asked that the Town Council avoid the 14 December, as a visit from real reindeer had already been arranged for that date – and with animal welfare considerations paramount, these animals can be startled by loud noises.
As time went on and relevant permissions were not in place, Knowsley Council assumed the town council was not continuing with this idea. However, the Town Council publicised late last week their programme for the 14 December ‘Christmas Cracker’ event.
Since then Knowsley Council has once again been in touch with the Town Council to stress the point that the required permissions are currently not in place to allow the event to go ahead.
In the meantime, Knowsley Council has been looking at options to resolve the situation and has been able to switch the planned visit of the reindeer to 7 December. This will ensure the welfare of the animals and ensure the Town Council event on 14 December can go ahead, so long as the correct permissions and licences are in place. It will also give local people yet another reason to visit the town centre and shop local this Christmas.
Knowsley Council has offered to support Prescot Town Council in making arrangements for its event, and has been in contact to remind them of the process they need to follow in order to obtain the necessary permissions for the event to happen. Knowsley Council will do its best to fast-track these processes once it receives the requested information from the Town Council.