Port Talbot traders to set up petition against Christmas lights cuts
PORT Talbot traders have pledged to stand-up against Christmas lights cut-backs.
Neath Port Talbot Council is proposing to cut spending on festive lighting this year in an attempt to save £15,000.
It could mean there will be far fewer decorations in Neath, Port Talbot and Pontardawe this year.
Plans could also be in the pipeline to withdraw festive lighting altogether in 2014 due to the "impending severe constraints on public service expenditure".
Port Talbot Chamber of Trade president Steve Garvey said Christmas festivities will be "disastrous" due to cut backs.
He said: "There will be no lights on Forge Road, and hardly lights on the square, just the tree.
"No lights on Station Road apart from the lampposts.
"It is a shame because Port Talbot has a tremendous selection of lights.
"They are robbing us a little bit of the festivities in Port Talbot.
"We have been told there will be no lights next year in 2014 because they want to save X amount of money. They are a scrooge council who are robbing us of our lights."
Vice-president Steve Redmore said: "I think we need to meet with them again. I don't think we should sit back on this."
He added that, thanks to the chamber, the town will be getting their parade and lights switch-on over two days, instead of the proposed one.
The new arrangements will be funded by Aberafan Shopping Centre which has agreed foot the £1,300 bill in order to have the two-day event.
Mr Gravey added: "As a chamber we have a voice.
"I would like to see councillors protect the people of Port Talbot.
"Most of the shops are closed by 5.30pm so it does not really effect us.
"For them to say it is for the chambers to find the money I think is ridiculous.
"We have not been set up to empty our pockets."
One trader said the lights going was a "depressing" thought.
Another added that a petition would be good idea.
"I think we will have no problem getting petitions," she said.
The chamber agreed that a petition would be set up.