Peterborough’s artificial Christmas tree given away for free... to our neighbours

For anyone missing Peterborough’s former artificial Christmas tree they won’t have far to travel to catch a glimpse of it again.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 5:00 am

The controversial fake tree was put into storage last year after frequent criticism from residents, prompting the city council to splash out £6,200 on a new 40 foot Spruce tree.

The metal tree still had another year before reaching ‘the end of its life’ and the council was planning to sell it, however, after a sale fell through the authority instead handed it over for free... to neighbouring Fenland District Council.

It will now go on display in Wisbech later this year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The former artificial tree in Cathedral Square in Peterborough

A Peterborough City Council spokeswoman said: “Last Christmas we decided to install a real Christmas tree instead as many residents had told us they missed the presence of a more traditional tree in the heart of the city.

“We were due to sell the metal tree to another area in the autumn of last year, however, the sale fell through at the last moment. Following this, it was felt that the re-sale value was not worth the cost of storing the tree for another year and so it was decided to gift the tree to Fenland District Council instead to ensure it could continue to be used for another year.”

The council spent £40,000 on the 10m artificial tree in 2015 - including the tree’s delivery, removal and storage - with the original intention that it would last until the end of 2020 before the decision was made to replace it a year early.

The council had defended the artificial tree when it came under initial criticism after being bought in 2015 and placed in Cathedral Square, 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 was due to be stored by The Seasonal Group in Halifax while a bidder was sought, although if none was found by the end of 2019 the intention was to scrap the tree.

Now, its capture has been celebrated by councillors in Wisbech who bragged about their “ballsy negotiations,” while toasting it as a “major addition to the town’s Christmas display” for this year.