COUNCILLORS have hit out at the decision to base Tameside’s annual Lantern Parade permanently in Ashton-under-Lyne.
Previously, the event – which heralds the start of the Christmas lights switch-ons – had moved around the area.
But from this year, it will only take place in Ashton after a decision by Tameside Council’s executive cabinet.
The call has been made because, according to the authority, Ashton is, ‘the economic centre and was easily accessible for all residents.’
However, the choice has sparked anger from Hyde councillors Phil Chadwick and Andrea Colbourne, who believe it should move around the borough.
Cllr Chadwick said: “I am very disappointed to have read that the Tameside Lantern Parade will NOT be showcased across the borough each year, but Instead held in Ashton every single year, citing that ‘Ashton is the economic centre.’
“Having the parade come to each of the towns In Tameside. not only gives our local businesses a massive boost Just before Christmas, but also brings the Christmas spirit to our residents.
“For too long Tameside Council has been Ashton-centric. a complaint raised by me in Full Council on several occasions and by the residents of the other towns In Tameside.
“Therefore, I was delighted a couple of years ago, when your predecessor CIIr Brenda Warrington extended the Lantern Parade across Tameside and allowed each town to be showcased.
“When it came to Hyde, the whole community took part and brought everybody together, this was fantastic to see. The event was wonderful.
“This is indeed a Lantern Parade for the whole of Tameside, not Just Ashton as other towns do actually exist.
“I feel. with this decision being taken, other towns are being forgotten about again by Tameside Council.”
Hyde Godley Councillor Colbourne joined in with a request to the cabinet to reconsider its decision.
She, like Cllr Chadwick, believes it should be run on a four-year cycle taking in Ashton, Denton, Hyde and Stalybridge.
Indeed, last year’s event the new permanent host, on Saturday, November 19, saw the town follow Denton, Stalybridge and Hyde in hosting it.
She added: “By making this decision, it proves that Tameside Council has become too Ashton-centric, which is a complaint made to me by many of my residents when speaking on the doorstep.
“It should be a Lantern Parade for the whole of Tameside, not just Ashton.
“It would reflect the hard work undertaken by each of the Town Teams, including the newly formed Hyde Together CIC, to encourage more footfall to our town centres, whilst driving business and investment in towns too.”