Artificial trees could be Peterborough’s Christmas future as well as the Christmas present

Christmas lights switch-on in the City Centre 2017 EMN-171118-191142009
Christmas lights switch-on in the City Centre 2017 EMN-171118-191142009
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Peterborough’s controversial artificial Christmas tree - or trees like it - could be here to stay after Peterborough City Council said they were ‘pleased’ with the decoration.

The tree was first used in Cathedral Square in 2015, replacing the ‘real’ tree which was used to celebrate the festive season in previous years. This year marks the half way point of its intended life span.

At the time it was first installed, Peterborough City Council said it cost £41,000 - while the rest of the decorations cost another £41,00 - while the 2014 decorations had cost £109,000. The £109,000 included an £80,000 bill for the ‘real’ tree and lights, including the blanket of lights used above Cathedral Square.

The artificial tree was set to be used for five years.

However, since 2015 residents have taken to social media to air their views on the decoration - with many saying they did not like it, preferring a real tree.

But following Saturday’s big festive switch on in the city centre, Annette Joyce, service director for city services and communications said: “Our Christmas lights switch on over the weekend was the best attended yet with over 6,000 people coming to the city centre.

“We are still really pleased with our Christmas tree. It has created a real talking point, it sparkles during night-time hours and has contributed towards the Cathedral Square display costing a significant amount less per year.

“No decisions have been made on what type of tree to have for 2020 onwards. However, what is certain is that we will need to continue to consider budget pressures. This is something very much on our minds this week as we launch our Stand Up For Peterborough lobbying campaign to protect the city’s vital resources.”

In 2015 the council said because of the LED lights, it would cost around £100 to power the tree over the eight weeks.