THE infamous tree that Cardiff council paid £30,000 to import from China will stay outside the city’s castle despite criticism from residents and councillors.
The 40ft structure, which the council originally claimed would be 40m high, was unveiled last Friday and got a mixed reception.
The council had previously rejected an offer from a Rhiwbina tree surgeon to provide the city with a natural Welsh tree free of charge.
Amanda Anderson, from the company Tree Control, said: “We feel very disappointed the council decided to put up an artificial tree in the first instance.
“It is further disappointment that they have gone outside Wales to source these facilities for a huge amount of money. It’s a monstrous thing.”
The council has paid £30,000 to keep the tree for three years, which Caerau Councillor Peter Bradbury said had saved the taxpayer money. Last year’s tree cost £15,000.
Coun Bradbury said: “The decision to put in an artificial illuminative structure had nothing to do with affordability or lack of response. Perhaps the publicity that has been created around the issue will raise the profile of the tree and we’ll be more successful in raising a name and rights sponsor next year.”
Councillor Adrian Robson, who supported Tree Control’s offer of a real tree, said: “It seems bizarre that we would get a tree from China when there are so many local businesses in the UK and Wales that would donate a tree.”
Other residents voiced their disappointment online.
To spend £30.000 on an Xmas Tree from China, Cardiff Council, never mind you thought it was 40m and not the 40ft it turned out? Fools. How..
— Yvonne Anne Bolton (@frederickone) November 28, 2016
— TREE CONTROL (@treecontrol8) November 26, 2016
— Emma Richards (@emmakrichards) November 27, 2016
But onlookers outside the castle were more positive. Erin Rogers, 35, said: “I think it looks lovely. Very classy!”
Carrie Sayce, 36, said: “Natural trees are lovely but I think this one’s beautiful.”
The tree will remain outside Cardiff Castle until the new year.
- What do you think about the tree? Please tweet @thecardiffian using the hashtag #treegate.