A council has proudly unveiled its first permanent Christmas tree to outrage at its cost.
Oldham Council, in Greater Manchester, planted the evergreen tree at the price of £1,450 – leaving residents fuming about the ‘massive rip off’.
It’s just six foot tall. For comparison, real fir trees of the same size in a plant pot cost around £100 online.
Diggle Village Association, which split the cost of the tree with the local council, said the tree was only £200 more than putting up a temporary tree.
Representatives added the charge included the ‘cost of labour, electricity hook up and lights’. A special irrigation pipe has also been installed to make it grow taller.
Many people on social media pointed out the tree could be more than 10 times over budget.
One person wrote: ‘Wow, massively ripped off there!
‘A 6ft tree will cost approx £60 to £100 depending on where you buy from then you add labour costs and you’ll be far far less than the £1,450 you’ve paid.’
Someone else said: ‘I’m no expert on tree prices, feels 10x overpriced.’
Another joked: ‘Oh dear, please be aware of scammers.’
A spokesperson from Diggle Village Association said a temporary tree would only have been £200 cheaper, and this one will continue to grow ‘year after year’.
They said: ‘The concrete base for the temporary tree is broken, and the cost to fix it was £500 plus £750 for a temporary tree. TOTAL £1,250.
‘The cost of the permanent tree was £1,450. This includes cost of labour, electricity hook up and lights.
‘Unfortunately, the land is managed by Oldham Council, so planting our own tree wasn’t an option. We had to use their certified contractors, hence the price.
‘We met 50% of this cost along with our local Councillors, who paid the other half.
‘We now have our first permanent Christmas tree in our village, something that will continue to grow year after year!’
Labour councillor Hannah Roberts, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Oldham Council, said this tree was the largest recommended.
‘Following discussions between the council and Diggle Village Association (DVA), it was agreed to plant a living Christmas tree as this is a much sustainable option compared to previous years, when disposable trees were on show,’ she said.
‘More communities are opting for living trees, although small to start with they are more environmentally friendly, and have paid for themselves after two years.
‘The tree is the largest recommended – it is more than 6ft high and will get bigger as it grows.
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‘Bigger trees run to thousands of pounds and are far less likely to successfully take to their new location. The costs quoted include the purchase and delivery of the tree.
‘It also covers excavation work carried out by council staff as specialist equipment had to be used so an irrigation pipe and electrical extension could be fitted.
‘Hopefully, the tree will take quickly and grow and mature in the years to come. As the tree grows the plan is to expand the lights display.’
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