Traders left in the dark for fourth consecutive year (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Traders left in the dark for fourth consecutive year
Traders in Woodford Green claim they are the ‘forgotten quarter’ when it comes to festive lighting.
For the fourth consecutive year, shopkeepers in Snakes Lane East and St Barnabas Road have been left without any decorations during the Christmas period.
The Area 2 Committee, representing Monkhams, Bridge, Roding, and Church End, had a discretionary budget of £8,471 to spend on festive lighting for 2012/13.
Cabinet contributed £50,000 of central funds to subsidise festive lighting across all seven Area Committees.
The Broadway, on the opposite side of Woodford tube station, and Chigwell Road, just north of Snakes Lane East, both have festive lighting.
South Woodford’s George Lane and High Road, Woodford Green have also been decorated with lights.
Bridge Ward Councillors' claim they were told by cabinet to choose between having lights either in Snakes Lane East or Chigwell Road, and chose the latter.
Conservative Bridge Ward Councillor Paul Canal says he accepts shopkeeper’s frustration and blames a lack of funding for the decision not to have festive lighting in Snakes Lane East.
He said: "I completely understand trader’s disappointment and their feeling of being left out in Snakes Lane East.
"We could not afford to have festive lighting in Chigwell Road and Snakes Lane East. The Cabinet chose to have them in Woodford Bridge and we (Bridge Ward Councillors) supported that decision.
"Last year, there were no lights in Bridge Ward, so the fact we have lights somewhere in the ward is progress.
"I have discussed this Cllr Turberfield and Cllr Fairley-Churchill and it is our firm intention to have festive lighting in Snakes Lane East next year."
Simon Reynolds, 54, of Allsorts in Snakes Lane East, said he is ‘utterly disappointed’.
"I have been here for 18 years and in the beginning we did have lights every single year," he added.
"I pay the same rates as businesses on the other side of Woodford station and up at Woodford Bridge, so why is Snakes Lane East any different?"
Heval Aira, of Resul’s Food and Wine in Snakes Lane East, said: "We have nothing. I don’t understand why they don’t pay attention to us.
"We pay rates, council tax, and live in Woodford, and yet just over the lines they have lights at Christmas and flower pots in the summer. It doesn’t add up."
Val Martinelli, 62, owner of Lunch 4 U in St Barnabas Road, said he is fed up of excuses as to why the street is left out year after year.
"It is absolutely disgusting. We get left out year after year. It’s just depressing outside and there is no Christmas spirit at all, it’s like we are the forgotten quarter," he said.
Ralph Lasky, 63, of Mr Scher's Spectacle Shop in Snakes Lane East, said he is upset there is no festive atmosphere.
"We feel left out. I am annoyed, upset and feel ignored. I have been here for 18 years and it's only been in the last few years that there has been no Christmas feeling whatsoever."
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