Oakham Town Council acts to avoid repeat of Christmas tree letdown

Simon Hazard, Sharon Hamilton, Brian Hamilton, Hannah Haywood, Mayor of Oakham Jayne Woodcock, Ruby Hamilton, Guy Boyd, Paul Ford and Chris Hamilton, up the ladder, with the new Christmas tree in Oakham in 2014. Photo: Adam Lowe. EMN-140812-113817001
Simon Hazard, Sharon Hamilton, Brian Hamilton, Hannah Haywood, Mayor of Oakham Jayne Woodcock, Ruby Hamilton, Guy Boyd, Paul Ford and Chris Hamilton, up the ladder, with the new Christmas tree in Oakham in 2014. Photo: Adam Lowe. EMN-140812-113817001

Councillors have acted early to make sure their town has a display of Christmas decorations to be proud of this year.

Oakham Town Council came under fire last year from residents who said the tree it put up in High Street was scruffy with untidy lighting.

The original scruffy Christmas tree in Oakham, December 2014. EMN-140312-092548001

The original scruffy Christmas tree in Oakham, December 2014. EMN-140312-092548001

A Facebook page called Give Oakham the Christmas Tree it Deserves quickly attracted more than 900 people, many of whom left comments calling for the tree to be replaced.

The council quickly acknowledged the complaints and asked its contractor Lite Ltd to re-string the lights. And the campaign had further success when Rutland Garden Centre director Chris Hamilton donated a new tree.

This year the council hopes to avoid a similar situation, so has signed a new three-year contract with Lite Ltd for improved decorations.

Deputy mayor Adam Lowe said: “The intention each year is to add to the overall current light display.

“Two new banner LED light features at either end of the High Street will be put up this year; this is subject to there being no installation issues. The purchase of a further three lamp post features this year for the High Street will once again add to the overall impact on the High Street.”

The contract is worth just under £10,000 per year. This will cover installation, testing, removal and storage of the lights and decorations. Lite will provide the tree itself, rather than the Rotary Club of Rutland, at a cost of about £1,500.

Coun Lowe added: “An investment of £1,500 in this project demonstrates the importance the council has attributed to this high profile feature of the town’s overall display.

“Further investment in coloured LED lights for the tree is as a result of feedback from comments received by the people of Oakham. The tree will be appropriately-sourced and at the end of the season removed and disposed of with a recycle theme being adopted.”

The decorations are likely to be put up in the middle of this month.

Last year Oakham residents decorated the new tree with their own baubles. Coun Lowe said: “I have been approached by residents asking to help decorate the tree with the baubles that came off it last year. This is likely to happen, subject to suitable safety procedures being put in place.”

The Christmas lights will be switched on between 6.30pm and 7.30pm on Sunday, November 29. The council will also have a gazebo in High Street during the town’s Late Night Shopping event on Monday, December 7. A Christmas tree competition involving primary schools is also likely to be held.