SHIRLEY Christmas lights are set to be turned off after this year’s festivities – unless a new Business Improvement District (BID) team is created.
Shirley Town Team has announced from 2017 it will no longer be able to continue this tradition as there are not enough members and volunteers to oversee the running and organisation that needs to be done.
The group, which has been running for four years, will be turning the lights on for the last time next Thursday (December 1) from 4pm outside Prezzo in Parkgate.
From March 2017 the group which has used membership fees and organised events within Shirley throughout the year in a bid to raise funds to cover the cost of the electricity, purchasing, maintaining and putting the lights up and down will no longer exist.
Before the Town Team existed the responsibility of making Shirley look like a winter wonderland each year fell to Shirley Town Partnership and before that Shirley Chamber of Trade.
Speaking to The Observer honorary committee member Phil Kingzett, said over the 22 years he has been involved in the Town Team orgnaising and paying for the Christmas lights has always been at the top of the groups agenda.
He added: “This year, as a Team, we are putting up as many lights in Shirley as we can afford to use up the monies in the fund from our members so when we come to next March the coffers will be empty and we would have used all the members’ money.”
It was decided at the last Town Team meeting earlier this month the only way to get the Christmas lights back in Shirley would be for current chair Indra Butters and four volunteers from the Town Team businesses’ to try and put an application in for a Business Improvement District so there is a proper town centre management company.
Phil said: “This however would take a good few months if not a couple of years to achieve ,so even if it was accepted and put in place , there is a possibly the 2017 lights might not happen.
“Over the 22 years that I have been involved, Solihull Council have been most helpful and supportive towards Shirley and without them and many of our local councillors, we would not have survived this long and even now, they are trying to help us with advice and support to try to go forward.
“I believe Shirley is in debt to a good few of our local councillors, past and present who have gone out of their way to support the Town Team.
“Hopefully they will help and guide Indra and her new Team through the BID process and come out successfully.
“Indra has given up so much time out of her busy schedule over the past few years and I know she must be very upset that we just cannot continue in our present form.”
For more or to find out how to help with the BID application contact Indra on [email protected]