This is no time for ‘chainge’...

Cllr Dan Sames,mayor of Bicester.'120516M-J984
Cllr Dan Sames,mayor of Bicester.'120516M-J984

PLANS to spend £9,500 on a new mayoral chain were withdrawn after heated debate on Monday night.

Members of Bicester Town Council’s policy committee were at odds over a proposal to buy a silver gilt replacement for the town’s 18ct gold chain.

The old chain has been inscribed with the names of Bicester mayors since 1960, but no blank links have remained for several years.

Councillor Les Sibley said: “I feel we can ill 
afford to use taxpayers’ money to the sum of nearly £10,000 for a replacement chain that’s only to put someone’s name on a link.” Councillor Debbie Pickford added: “It smacks of self-importance, just to have names on it.

“In other places when they run out of space they just stop.”

Councillor Nick Cotter echoed Cllr Pickford’s comments, adding: “Having my name on a board at the back would have been more than ample.”

But others strongly disagreed with their views. Councillor Lynn Pratt, a former mayor whose name is on the chain, said it was “right that all mayors should have the same privilege I had”.

Councillor Jim Tucker feared the gold chain could even put the mayor in peril. He said: “That chain will become a target for theft, or possibly violent theft.”

Committee chairman Councillor James Porter said he did not accept that a new chain “would somehow be some kind of self-importance”.

The item was withdrawn pending clarification of budget constraints and procedural rules.