Cheshire West and Chester Council has apologised for ‘talking baubles’ when it claimed the cost of changing city centre Christmas decorations from red to green cost £5,500 – in fact the true figure is £10,350.
Opinions are split as to whether it was necessary to refresh the festive look given the £4,300 red baubles were only in place for one season – especially since the council faces a £44.2m funding gap.
And Christmas decorations led to a surprising degree of comment.
Conspiracy theorists then wondered if that was the reason for changing them to green.
The council insists refreshing the look is all about supporting ‘a strong Christmas offer in the city’ but has now admitted the revamp cost £10,350 not £5,500 as originally claimed.
A council spokesperson said: “Last week we stated that the new green baubles had cost £5,500, however, further investigation has established that this isn’t the full picture.
“The figure of £5,500 quoted was only one element of the payment made, the total amount being £10,350 in 2016. We would like to apologise for this mistake and for any confusion that has been caused.
“The investment of £10,350 in Chester’s Christmas decorations this year is part of a total investment of £14,650 which will enable us to have a different combination of decorations and allow us to re-use them for many years.
“We believe that the investment in Christmas represents value for money by supporting the local economy as the city must compete for business at the most important trading period of the year.”
The red baubles, which are in storage, cost considerably less than the green at just £4,300, which was apparently due to ‘a significant discount’ following mistakes with the delivery.
CWaC says the colour of next year’s baubles will be ‘a surprise’ but given the three-year budget figure for decorations has already been spent there must be a high probability ‘red’ could once again be in vogue.
Council chiefs are hoping the Christmas lights will actually come on this year at the switch-on taking place on the evening of Thursday, November 17, after technical problems in 2015. The Chronicle understands the format will be the same involving a parade around the city centre.