Council officials promise to replace 'shocking' Christmas tree in Tameside slammed by residents

Residents have called the tree 'shocking' Credit: MEN Media

Council officials have promised to replace a 'shocking' Christmas tree in Tameside, which has infuriated residents.The 'living tree' was planted outside The Hub, a community centre on Stockport Road in Hattersley, which includes a police post and Tameside Council offices, a few years ago, but the spruce hasn't survived.

The poor state of the tree, which is missing several branches, has prompted criticism from residents when they noticed workmen had decorated it in lights and put barriers around it on Monday morning, 28 November, in time for the lights 'switch-on' on Friday 1 December.Now, council officials have promised to provide a 'cut tree' in time for the switch-on and replace the 'living tree'.

Jess Walker complained about the tree Credit: MEN Media

Jess Walker, 35, assistant manager of Mottram Wood pub on the other side of Stockport Road, said she couldn't believe her eyes when she saw the tree.She said: "It's shocking. I run the pub opposite and we do lights and Santa grottos, everything. The only thing we don't do is a big Christmas tree because we don't have the staff to police something like that."I couldn't believe it when I saw it. It has a sign saying there's a big lights switch-on on 1 December. Are they joking? What are they going to be switching on?""I'm not bringing my children to the switch-on of a twig of a Christmas tree. Kids wants to see something that makes them think 'wow!' don't they?

"The kids on this estate don't have much but we see they have lovely displays in Ashton and Hyde. We can't turn that on for the kids of Hattersley. It's shocking."

The 'living tree' will be replaced by another tree Credit: MEN Media

After Jess lodged a formal complaint, officials have now promised a 'cut tree' for Friday's lights switch-on.Responding to the complaint on the Hattersley Community Group Facebook page, Councillor Jacqueline Owen said she had spoken to officials who had 'agreed to replace the planted one'. The councillor went on: "We've tried to grow a sustainable tree, sadly unsuccessfully."Councillor Owen added: "To be clear there isn't a budget the the Xmas event in Hattersley. The councillors with community groups work together to provide a Christmas market, Santa's grotto, entertainment and food for the community. We are all happy to work with any interested parties to make it a better event."Jess said: "I don't believe there was ever any intention to put up a new tree. This has only happened because we as a community have come together to speak up about it."

A Tameside Council spokesperson said: "It’s a living tree that has been in place for a few years. A cut tree will be supplied for the Hattersley Christmas Lights switch on before it takes place on Friday."We are seeking sponsorship to replace the living tree and will seek a different species to help it thrive in this location."