THE chairman of Clacton’s traders group has quit his role after lambasting council bosses for failing to help make the town’s Christmas light switch-on event a success.

Businessman Graham Webb took over as chairman of Clacton Town Partnership in 2016 after previous boss Lisa Alligan threw in the towel, citing constant battles against health and safety regulations and red tape.

Mr Webb hit out at Tendring Council for its lack of interest in the town’s festive celebration, which he claimed could have been more spectacular with better support.

He also hit out at the district council for squashing proposals for a new town council, which Mr Webb said would provide a voice for residents in the town.

He said: “There are a number of reasons behind my decision to quit, but the biggest is the council’s decision not to look into having a town council for Clacton.

“The council always has excuses for not funding things for Clacton because we don’t have a town council.

“Every other town in Tendring has help from town and parish councils for their Christmas lights, but in Clacton, the town partnership has to find the money every year.

“They had the opportunity last year to give the public a vote in setting up a town council for Clacton, but our councillors threw it out.

“They should be doing more for the town centre and should be getting more involved.

“If we had a town council, we could go to it and ask for help to match-fund for Christmas events – we could put on a real show.

“We manage to make our funds go a long way, but most of it is eaten up by getting the lights put up.

“We have to beg, borrow and steal to keep the switch-on event going, but we will never rival events in other towns if we don’t get real support from the district council.”

Tendring Council investment boss Zoe Fairley said it is not always able to provide funding for the Clacton Christmas lights as it has responsibility for towns and villages across the district.

But she added: “In 2016 considerable money was given to the Clacton Town Partnership for the festive lights from two council sources.

“The council liaises with the partnership regarding the installation of the town centre Christmas tree and organises for the pantomime stars at the council-run Princes Theatre to attend the switch on.”

She said the council also provides support and advice on other issues and sends representatives to as many partnership meetings as possible.

The town partnership will elect a new chairman today.