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Council’s ‘pathetic’ Christmas tree blamed on eco-friendly push

Darren Rowe said it was a 'joke' to call it a Christmas tree and failed to put him in the festive spirit
Darren Rowe said it was a 'joke' to call it a Christmas tree and failed to put him in the festive spirit

A council has defended its “pathetic” Christmas tree as an eco incentive to plant firs rather than have them shipped in.

Residents in Willenhall, West Midlands, complained that the “beanstalk” – decorated only with a string of lights without tinsel or baubles – made the town seem devoid of Christmas spirit.

But the council has argued that it is more sustainable to plant the trees rather than erect ones that have been chopped down.

The 20ft tree was installed in late November by Walsall council on the Lock Worker’s Memorial, which lies next to a busy junction, an off-licence and a line of takeaways.

Patricia Walton, 75, said: “It’s absolutely pathetic, each year it keeps getting worse, smaller and smaller.

“Walsall is just as bad, Darlaston is bad. But this, they might as well have not bothered putting one up.

“They haven’t even got the children decorating it this year, and I can’t see people coming and looking at this.

“There’s no baubles or tinsel on the tree either. It needs to be a bit smaller and much bushier. It looks more like a beanstalk than a Christmas tree.

“If they’ve paid for that tree, it’s just a waste of money.”

Patricia Walton standing next to Willenhall Christmas tree in the West Midlands
Patricia Walton called the tree pathetic, saying it needed to be shorter and bushier - ANITA MARIC/SWNS

Darren Rowe, 25, said: “It’s a bit of a joke to call that a Christmas tree. It hardly puts you in the festive spirit. It’s tall but not exactly decorated. It’s a shame.”

Cllr Simran Cheema, who represents Willenhall South, said the tree was a “shadow” of the one displayed last year.

She said: “My biggest disappointment and frustration with the council is that in previous years we have had a bigger and better tree. It attracted people to the town and brings a festive feeling. It used to be situated outside the Wetherspoon. It was right in the centre and everyone could see it when they drove past.

“This one is tucked away in the corner and they moved the location without consulting any of the ward councillors.

“It’s a bit of a disappointment really, people were expecting better and we’ve had better in previous years.

“The Christmas Grinch has taken our festive feeling.”

Walsall Council defended the tree, saying this year they were using “more sustainable” firs.

Cllr Adrian Andrew said: “This year, the council have replaced the majority of cut Christmas trees with planted trees which are a more sustainable option.

“Every effort has been made to provide comparable sized trees and the illumination is consistent with previous years.

“In some instances, it has been necessary to change the location of the trees as planted trees cannot be installed where there are underground services or where ongoing maintenance may not be practicable.

“The council are happy to support community switch on events and this year has been no exception.

“Where we have been approached to time the switch-on of lights around community-led Christmas events, we have done so.”