A TOWN councillor disgusted with the decision to axe the highlight of the Jubilee celebrations has vowed to carry on alone with his own private garden display.

Councillors in Wallingford Town Council’s Platinum Jubilee committee made the controversial decision outside of full council to postpone the fireworks and flotilla after concerns from residents about the impact on wildlife.

It was announced on Friday last week by town clerk, Michelle Taylor, on official town council platforms that the event “may affect nesting and young wildlife” such as swans and cygnets.

READ MORE: What is happening in Wallingford to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee?

Herald Series: POSTPONED until SeptemberPOSTPONED until September

However, councillor Giles Cattermole said the decision was “nonsense” and has reported his colleagues to the monitoring officer at South Oxfordshire District Council for making a decision “on behalf” of the council.

He said he now plans to set off fireworks from his own private garden as well as organise the flotilla without the council’s support.

“There is no way that committee can speak on behalf of the council,” said Mr Cattermole. “The announcement was made on town council headed paper which is out of order and that’s not subject to debate.

“The idea that the full council signed off on it is absolute nonsense. What is subject to debate is whether it’s a good decision to postpone the fireworks.

“The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) states fireworks in general don’t disturb birds.

Herald Series: Councillors were worried about nesting wildlifeCouncillors were worried about nesting wildlife

“Swans and cygnets’ nest in my garden and I feed them every day and nesting has finished so it’s nonsense to cancel fireworks.”

Mr Cattermole now hopes to arrange his own display and claims the flotilla will be continuing regardless.

READ MORE: Jubilee fireworks postponed after concerns from residents about wildlife

He said: “Since the council has backed out I’ve suggested that someone buys them and we can set them off ourselves in my private garden as we don’t need permission for it.

“The flotilla will be happening but without the council support as they can’t be bothered. There hasn’t been a Platinum Jubilee in 1,000 years and there’s unlikely to be another and we can’t do one petty little firework display?”

Mayor Marcus Harris, who was part of the council’s Jubilee committee, said the decision was “tough but needed”.

He said: “The council took a decision to establish a committee to create Jubilee events and it’s independent of the council and not governed by council rules.

“The decision to postpone the fireworks was a decision that the committee is allowed to make outside of full council.

“We took the view that fireworks could potentially breach laws if we caused harm to a protected species and we don’t want to morally disturb nesting birds either.”

An extraordinary council meeting has been planned for Monday (6) to discuss the committee’s decision.

READ MORE: Huge Jubilee festival planned for airfield despite chaos on fireworks night

Mr Harris added: “Mr Cattermole is upset but sometimes we need to make tough decisions - we needed to make this decision to keep things safe - I’m upset as well but I can’t allow that to cloud our judgement.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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