Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

City Christmas tree chopped down

Felled Christmas tree
Council bosses say the felled tree will be used elsewhere in the city

A Christmas tree which was put up in Leeds city centre two weeks ago has been felled amid safety fears about a demonstration planned for the weekend.

The tree, which cost taxpayers £2,000, went up in City Square on 18 October.

However, the council and police agreed it could pose a risk to the public during a planned rally by the English Defence League on Saturday.

Surprised commuters looked on as workmen used a chainsaw to cut down the 30ft tree early on Thursday morning.

A Leeds City Council spokesman said the tree would be used elsewhere and a new one would be put up in the square before Christmas.

"We have agreed with the police to remove the tree due to an event taking place on the site at the weekend involving a mass gathering of people," a council statement said.

"We... cut the tree down in such a way that it can be reused elsewhere in the city.

"We will replace the City Square tree as soon as we can after the event."

A council employee, who did not wish to be named, sent an email to the BBC saying: "With the tree costing in excess of £2,000 I think it is, diabolically, to be replaced with another tree after the protest has finished at more cost to the taxpayer."

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