Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Festive 'tatty' tree is replaced

Peterlee Christmas tree
The threadbare tree will be relaced with a 20ft spruce

A Christmas tree branded an "insult" to a County Durham town is to be ditched in favour of a 20ft spruce.

The tree was to form the centrepiece of festive celebrations at Peterlee's Castle Dene Shopping Centre, but turned out to be smaller than expected.

It was decorated with lights, but was described by one councillor as looking more like a "twig".

Now the Forestry Commission has offered a replacement from one of its forests which will arrive on Thursday.

The new Norway Spruce is coming from Hamsterley Forest, near Bishop Auckland, in County Durham.

Alex MacLennan, tourism and communities manager for the Forestry Commission, said: "We have been growing trees in Hamsterley for decades and take a lot of pride in our Christmas trees.

"We acted in double quick time so that people in Peterlee can share in the festive spirit and enjoy a handsome specimen full of fragrance and forest freshness."

Mike Weston, at the shopping centre, added: "We'll get the tree up in 10 minutes when it arrives.

"We are thrilled to take up this offer. I've even been texted from as far afield as Egypt about the old tree, but it's now destined for recycling into mulch."

Councillor Joan Maslin, of Easington Council, said she had been inundated with complaints.

She said: "I would describe this tree as just like a twig. To be honest, it looks like something that people would throw in a skip after Christmas."

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Festive tree an 'insult' to town
02 Dec 08 |  England

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