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Cardiff’s controversial Christmas tree gets the chop

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The 40ft tall decoration divided opinion when it was unveiled.

CARDIFF’S artificial Christmas tree, which gained worldwide attention when it was found to be 90ft smaller than expected, is set to be replaced.

It has been revealed that Cardiff Council are negotiating with MK Illumination, the company who provided the artificial tree, about replacing it with a real one for Christmas 2017.

A spokesman for the authority said: “Since the publicity around Cardiff’s artificial Christmas tree the city council has received several offers from potential sponsors to cover the full costs of a real Christmas tree for 2017.

“The city council is contracted to MK Illumination for a further two years and has begun negotiations to swap out the artificial tree for other illuminations which could be used around the castle, like the reindeer lights.”

Officials at the council thought the tree, which will cost £30,000 over three years, was going to be 40m tall, but in fact they’d ordered one that was 40ft tall.

Opposition councillors complained that the council had not used a welsh-grown tree and had instead imported one from China.

It also drew criticism when it was unveiled, with many people commenting on its similarity to the chocolate brand, Ferrero Rocher. It even got the attention of US media channel CNN, who ran a story on it.

The council came in for more criticism when the baubles that made up the decoration began to peel three weeks after it was put in place.

The council defended their Christmas decorations saying they had made over £200,000 of savings from the year before. The overall cost of Christmas decorations in the city was £18,000.

Fenella Bowden, the Heath Independent councillor for Heath ward says it has been “an expensive mistake” for the council.

“I find it interesting that they’ve made this decision ahead of the elections in May. They appear to have identified some sponsors but they could have done that the first time round if they had tried harder.

“I am glad that they’re getting a locally-sourced tree, but they could have done that in the first place and saved us this ghastly embarrassment.”

In reaction to the news of a possible replacement tree, Neil McEvoy, Plaid Cymru AM and Fairwater councillor tweeted: “EMBARRASSING”.

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