FESTIVE celebrations around the Christmas tree in Marlborough High Street have been threatened once again, after the free parking allowance for the decoration was scrapped for future years.

The traditional tree donated by the Rotary Club has been secured for 2018, after councillors ensured plans to force the town to pay for space to put it up were held off for another year.

Following Wiltshire Council’s car parking shake-up in February, which saw the end of free Sunday parking and parking costs rise by 12 per cent, the Town Council lost its right to allocate free parking spaces on the main street during the festive season.

However cabinet member for highways, transport and waste, Cllr Bridget Wayman and Marlborough Cllr Stewart Dobson have now confirmed that the Rotary tree is safe, but for this year only.

Cedric Hollinsworth, Rotary club president, said: “If Wiltshire insist on charging us in future years, it will undoubtedly mean that there will be no large Christmas tree in the High Street , for all the citizens and visitors to enjoy.

“We have previously looked at alternate sites in the High Street, but none are suitable.

“We are extremely grateful to Cllr Stewart Dobson, and the support of Marlborough Town Council, in achieving an agreement for the Christmas tree in 2018.”

Cllr Dobson said: “The Rotary Club were concerned so I spoke to the relevant officers and Cllr Wayman and she agreed for this year to have the Christmas tree in a disabled parking bay. It is a very important part of the town’s Christmas decorations.

“However for following years we will need to get together and decide where the tree could go. If it is in a space it is costing Wiltshire Council lost income

“If the Rotary Club was to pay for the space for the three weeks the tree is up it would get very expensive.”

The tree will be put up in a disabled bay on the High Street, but next year a new location must be found.