Fed-up residents have blasted council bosses for putting lights on their Christmas tree – despite it looking “dead”. The 12 ft (3.5m) spruce was planted in the ground last year, in the hopes that it would serve as a festive sight this December. But residents say their Christmas dream was killed off within months it began to drop its plush green needles and was reduced to a lifeless husk.
They were shocked when workers from Blackpool Council put twinkling lights on the fir in November, with one local fuming: “The world has gone mad.”
Council chiefs claimed the tree, situated in Oxford Square, to the south of the seaside town centre, was still “alive” despite its brown and baron appearance.
And they said a “new tree” was on its way to replace the sad-looking spruce, which would be removed and given another chance to flourish in the future.
But that didn’t stop angry locals from taking to social media to ask why the local authority had decided to lay lights on a tree that had been reduced to “twigs”.
One resident wrote: “So Blackpool Council instructed an employee to put lights on Christmas trees around town and nobody noticed some of these trees were dead?
“No doubt the same staff will now have to remove the lights before a new tree can be planted when they can pop back for a third visit and decorate the new tree.
“Unbelievable! Is it any wonder council budgets are under serious pressure.”
Another added: “They need to be looked after not just planted in and left, obviously they don’t know how to look after a Christmas tree because why anyone would slap some lights on this twig when it’s one of the main roads in and out of Blackpool is beyond me.
“I wonder who thought ‘oh let’s plonk some lights on that twig’.”
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A further user went on: “I noticed this tree the other day. Why did they even bother to put lights on a tree that has no pine needles on. The world has gone mad .”
Some suggested that the council had tried to save money by planting the tree – with others also dug in around the borough – but it had suffered due poor maintenance.
They said: “[It’s] what they did last year by planting Christmas trees to save money for years to come. But they neglected to maintain them and keeping them fed to help them thrive. Perhaps they’ll learn by last years mistakes.”
While others gave their ironic approval of the tree, adding: “I actually like it, reflective of the Christmas spirit many of us are feeling.”
Following the uproar, Blackpool Council released a statement saying a new tree was on its way to replace the forlorn winter fir.
John Blackledge, the council’s Director for Community and Environmental Services, said: “A new tree is coming to the site in time for Christmas. The current tree has been inspected and is alive but will be moved and replanted to give it a chance to recover.
“Unfortunately, Christmas trees which were planted last year suffered through a difficult winter and are being transplanted to a new location in a sheltered environment.
“A new set of trees across the town are being prepared ready for Christmas.”
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