‘Generous’ Christmas lights donation from Girteka Logistics criticised by Marlow Community Forum
A “generous” donation towards Marlow’s Christmas lights fund by the company whose driver damaged the town’s bridge last month has been met with criticism from some residents. The donation – believed to be around ?10,000 – has been made by the Lithuanian company, Girteka Logistics, as a “gesture of goodwill” after admitting their “embarrassment” at the damage their driver caused to the bridge on September 24. However, the decision to spend the money on the Christmas lights has been met with disapproval from the Marlow Community Forum, who say the town council should have consulted residents first.
Jo Braybrooke, secretary of the MCA, said the decision could anger shop owners in the town who have already contributed to the ?20,000 Christmas lights fund despite struggling with a loss of trade since the bridge closed. She said: “We understood they needed ?20,000 and were ?3,000 short. The Marlow Chamber of Trade and Commerce has given them ?600.
I understand that they now have enough. “Why do they need this ?10,000? Who made this decision?
The state the retailers are in, they are really going to kick up a fuss. “We do need the lights but if they have the money already, why do they need this? The town council should not make this decision on their own.
They have a right to let us know.” Town and district councillor, Roger Wilson, said he thought the money should have been split between the independent shops in the town. He said: “Quite frankly, it is not something I would do.
I’m not convinced it is the right place to put the money. “The lights are for people to come in and say ‘aren’t they nice’ – I don’t think they really boost trade. People are going to come into Marlow to shop whether they are there or not.
“My own view is that we put that money out to the independent shops that have suffered.” Bob Savidge, from the Marlow Society, added that it was “very odd” that the decision was made without putting it to the town and traders. The future of Marlow’s Christmas decorations came under threat in 2014 when Wycombe District Council withdrew funding for the lights.
A spokesman for the town council, Sue Beard, said the figure that had been donated by Girteka was “as yet unconfirmed” but said any trader who was concerned about their businesses losses due to the bridge should talk to their insurers. She said: “The council is on track, having started to fundraise earlier this year than last, and is hoping that all the costs will be covered. “Girteka say they believe that a contribution towards the Christmas lights will demonstrate their goodwill towards the people of Marlow.
“Any traders who can show that they have suffered business losses due to the bridge closure should be talking to their insurers and going to Girteka with their claims; Girteka are expecting this.”
Marlow Town Council met with Kristian Kaas Mortensen, a spokesman for the European haulage company, last week.
Mr Mortensen said they “regret sincerely” the damage caused to the bridge.