Forget Brexit, the most hotly debated topic in Peterborough over the past four years has been the controversial, artificial Christmas ‘tree’ which appeared suddenly in Cathedral Square back in November 2015.
But for lovers of something more traditional there is good news, as next month the metal construction, which has been likened to a stack of huge Ferrero Rocher, will be replaced by the real thing.
A new, 40ft Spruce tree will adorn the city centre from November 15 at cost of £6,200 to Peterborough City Council.
This is less than the £40,000 for the artificial tree which was expected to last five years before reaching ‘the end of its life’.
However, the decision was taken to move it into storage a year early due to resident demand, according to council cabinet member for recreation Cllr Steve Allen.
He said: “We are pleased to confirm that a 40 ft Spruce Christmas tree will arrive in Cathedral Square ready for the Christmas lights switch-on event and the start of the city’s festive celebrations on Friday, November 15.
“Our previous metal Christmas tree was purchased with the intention of it lasting five years and has been used for four years. However, it was decided this year to opt for a real tree as many residents have told us that they miss the presence of a more traditional tree in the heart of the city.”
The money for the new Christmas tree will include delivery, installation, removal and recycling costs, a council spokesman said.
The tree has been purchased from Elveden Farms Ltd in Suffolk but will only last one year.
The 10m artificial tree divided opinion when it appeared out of the blue four years ago, although the vast majority of Peterborough Telegraph readers were against it.
It was even controversial enough to be debated at the Town Hall, although a planned vote by city councillors last December was scrapped at the last minute after senior officers had allegedly claimed they were looking to replace the artificial tree with a real one in time for this Christmas.
The council had defended the artificial tree when it came under initial criticism back in 2015, with a spokesman saying: “Like all decorations, the city’s new Christmas tree will look at its best once it’s lit up at the switch-on event.”
However, this did not prevent the tree’s appearance every year becoming a hot topic. It will now be stored by The Seasonal Group in Halifax.
A council spokesman said: “When we bought the tree back in 2015 from this company the deal included the tree’s delivery, removal and storage.”
More details on this year’s Christmas events and lights switch-on are expected to be revealed in the coming days.