Council turns down mayoral chain plan

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PLANS that could have seen between £16,000 and £20,000 spent on Bicester’s mayoral chain of office were turned down on Monday night.

The mayor’s chain, which was donated to the town in 1960 by public-spirited pools winner Albert Taylor, has traditionally been engraved with the mayor’s name, but no blank links are left.

One quotation for adding extra gold links was £16,156, while the other was £20,432.

But members of Bicester Town Council voted to reject the proposal.

Council chairman, James Porter, said: “It’s a very special chain and we can’t do anything but replace like with like.

“It was right to have a conversation but at this time we felt it wasn’t the right thing to do, at a time when a lot of people are having to pull their belts in.”

Councillor Les Sibley said: “I think they made the right decision. That’s an extraordinary amount of money to spend on it.

“I think it’s the wrong time to contemplate spending that sort of money on the links.”

A proposal to spend between £250 and £300 on a carrying case for the chain was approved. The chain is currently kept wrapped in a piece of felt cloth.

Bicester town mayor, Dan Sames, said: “We are going to get a case to keep it safe, I think we would be rather foolish not to go down that route.

“My feeling about the mayor’s chain is that it is a historic record of the mayors of Bicester, and that we should be keeping it up to date as much as possible, and to safeguard it for future generations.”

Cllr Sames said he had met some of Mr Taylor’s descendants at the Queen’s Jubilee garden party in Henley on Monday.

He added: “My own view is that we should be keeping them up to date on a regular basis so we don’t get large periods of catch-up, which could cost a lot more.”

An alternative suggestion was to create a gallery of mayors’ portrait photographs.