Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Bill Jacobs & Claire Barre & Sara Odeen-Isbister

Fuming locals demand replacement after town gets 'Britain's saddest Christmas tree'

"Britain's saddest Christmas tree" has been hastily replaced by a Lancashire council after a flurry of angry complaints and political mud slinging.

The original fir tree, which appeared in Accrington Town Square last weekend, had a number of decaying brown lower branches and was slammed by local councillors and residents, Lancashire Live reports.

"Is this Britain's saddest Christmas Tree?" wrote Kimberly White, a Hyndburn Borough Labour and Co-operative councillor, in a statement on social media.

She added: "The Labour Group are receiving a large amount of correspondence in relation to the depressing state of the Christmas Tree that has been erected on Accrington Town Square.

"One resident asked if it was part of the council's Green Agenda to recycle last years tree. It looks horrendous; our residents deserve better. I have asked the council for a replacement."

The initial tree was described as 'horrendous' (Kimberley Whitehead WS)
The replacement tree, which has been praised by residents and councillors (Peter Britcliffe WS)

Fellow Labour and Co-operative councillor, Cllr Noordad Aziz, echoed her concerns and asked Hyndburn MP Sara Britcliffe and leader of the council Miles Parkinson, both Conservative, if the tree was an example of "Levelling Up in action."

There was a flood of criticisms online from residents too, with people calling it "abysmal" and "horrendous".

Carol Bancroft simply wrote: “Mess,” while someone else commented: “I think everyone involved in picking the tree that would justify Accrington town have chosen extremely well …tired …broken …limp …depressing …and virtually on its knees …just like the town itself.”

Some of the online exchanges descended into political mudslinging. One person asked if Cllr Aziz was "desperate to score political points" with his post, but another responded: "This is absolutely ridiculous!!! Do you think Labour, for instance, would allow this? The tree is the cherry on top for the state of our once decent town. So what if it gets the political points as you put it!!!”

Hyndburn Borough Council has 35 councillors, of which 23 belong to the controlling Labour group, eight are Conservatives, two are of the UK Independence Party and two are independent.

A council spokesperson had initially said that the tree needed "a little TLC" on arrival, and it was pruned the same day it was installed by the parks team.

Yet by Monday morning, a replacement tree was seen being lowered into place.

Lancashire County Councillor and member of Hyndburn Borough Council, Peter Britcliffe, said of the replacement:, "Beautiful tree in Accrington Town Centre. Well done to all concerned for sorting this matter out."

He told Lancs Live he was "just delighted it’s been replaced by a tree that is splendid and does justice to the town centre."

The new tree was also welcomed by residents, with people praising it across the board. Jo Smith Gems said: "Great work... and it's also nice to be heard for once too."

Similarly, Jackie White said: "Much better," although Donald Bailey commented: "Not before time - that would have made us a laughing stock of other towns."

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.