Tree debate could spell the end of a festive tradition
CHRISTMAS in Camborne may not feature a traditional festive tree for the first time in "living memory".
The town council last week withdrew its offer to finance the centerpiece following a row over maintenance costs.
The authority has historically paid for the tree, while the maintenance remained the responsibility of the voluntary Christmas Lights Committee, which folded earlier this year.
The newly established Business Improvement District (BID) Camborne stepped in to look after the festive lights earlier this year but said it would not take responsibility for the maintenance because it did not have resources and insurance to do so.
Camborne mayor Jean Charman said the council could not justify spending more than it already had on Christmas.
In addition to offering to pay for the tree and its haulage, the council has paid £10,500 towards a £40,000 bill to upgrade the dilapidated display infrastructure this year.
Mrs Charman said: "Unfortunately in this present economic climate the council cannot justify paying the considerable sum required to maintain the tree."
And deputy mayor Paul White added: "We are all disappointed that BID refused to maintain the tree.
"BID took over the Christmas lights from the committee who always maintained the tree in the past, maybe BID did not realise how much and what the volunteers did.
"We want to support it but we haven't got limitless funds.
"It is sad that they can't take it on as there has been a tree in the square for as long as I can remember."
But Mel Martin, BID Camborne manager, said she was unaware of any maintenance issues. She said: "The town council has internal issues over the tree and as far as we know it is all going ahead.
"We will install the lights and maintain the lights (on the tree) if they go wrong but the maintenance of the tree itself is not and has never been the responsibility of BID."
Camborne town clerk Amanda Mugford said somebody had to take responsibility for the tree in case it was vandalised or fell over.
"The difficulty is, we (council) do not know how much it would cost so the council withdrew its offer of paying for the tree because members felt they were left with no choice.
"When BID decided to take over the responsibilities of the Christmas lights committee we thought this included all the stuff the committee used to do but obviously not."
Camborne Regeneration Forum voted on Monday morning to donate £500 towards the maintenance costs of a tree should one be bought.