Questions raised as Christmas tree goes

The stump is all that remains of the Hindley tree
The stump is all that remains of the Hindley tree

Confusion has broken out over the sudden disappearance of a Christmas tree which was planted less than a year ago.

The spruce was installed outside Hindley Town Hall for last year’s festive season and was paid for by the ward’s Brighter Borough fund.

But a recent image revealed nothing but a stump remains of the tree, just weeks before the festivities begin again.

Paul Barton, Wigan Council’s assistant director for environmental services, said: "Last year we planted a Christmas tree outside of Hindley town hall, the tree was funded by the local ward councillors through their Brighter Borough funding.

"Unfortunately the tree has since died, this is why we have taken the decision to remove it. Our greenspaces team are now in the process of identifying a new location within the boundary around the town hall to plant a replacement tree which will be supplied free of charge.

"Once planted our street lighting team will install the Christmas lights and local community volunteers have agreed to re-erect the tree’s protective fencing."

But Coun Bob Brierley, who represents Hindley Green, disputed claims that the tree would be replaced at no cost, suggesting the council should be compensated by the contractors who originally planted it.

In a letter to the council, which Coun Brierley shared with the Observer, he wrote: "As you can clearly see the £5,000 Christmas tree planted last Christmas has gone, I understand from Hindley residents that their elected members are asking for donations towards a new tree on the other grass verge across the road, which will cost approximately £10,000 to lay the new electric cables.

"As an elected member I would like to know why is the contractor not replacing the tree as they must be professional in placing a 35 foot real Christmas tree."

Coun Paul Blay who also represents Hindley, expressed his surprise at the concerns, saying: "There is certainly no Brighter Borough funding going on the new tree."

He added that Hindley community groups had indeed raised money for this year’s Christmas decorations, but that it would be spent on lights and even a nativity scene.

He said: "I’m surprised there is this negativity because Christmas in Hindley this year is going to be fantastic."