Wales

When Christmas trees go wrong - the public has its say

Cardiff Christmas tree Image copyright Polly Thomas/Wales News Service
Image caption Cardiff's tree did not arrive in time for the city's Christmas lights switch on

It would appear that size really does matter when it comes to Christmas trees in Wales.

By now, most public Christmas trees have been erected and the lights switched on. But not everyone is happy.

Trees in Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire have all drawn criticism, either for their size or the railings around them.

Cardiff council apologised when its £30,000 tree fell short of expectations.

The council said it had ordered a pre-decorated 40m - or 131ft - tree from China for outside Cardiff Castle.

But when it went up it was revealed to be just 12m (40ft).

A council spokesman said: "We apologise to everyone who was expecting a bigger tree and are cutting the person responsible down to size."

Commenting on Facebook, Doreen Richings said it looked like a "Ferrero Rocher tower", while Adele Morgan Parry said it was an "absolute monstrosity."

Helen Davies said she could not believe how "cheap and trashy it looked" and that she would "prefer no tree at all."

Image copyright Dylan Griffiths
Image caption "The leaning tree of Caldicot"

Size was not so much of an issue with Caldicot's tree in Monmouthshire, rather its direction.

Dylan Griffiths owns a tattoo business opposite the tree and was concerned "a gust of wind would send it through his window, or worse on top of somebody".

He said the tree "made him chuckle" because of how little effort appeared to have gone in to it.

Posting on Facebook, he said: "I'm sorry but I can't stop laughing at this abomination."

Caldicot Town Council said it had not received any complaints about the tree, but confirmed it would be replaced.

A spokesman said: "Following a routine inspection, it was identified that the tree had tilted and town council agreed to get the tree replaced.

"This has been arranged and will take place as soon as possible."

Image copyright Darren Bromham-Nichols

In Neath, residents have taken it upon themselves to improve the town's Christmas tree.

After seeing this year's offering by Neath Town Council, local resident Darren Bromham-Nichols organised a collection of Christmas decorations, but was told they could not be put on the tree for health and safety reasons.

Instead volunteers plan to decorate the metal railings around it on Saturday.

Speaking of the tree, Mr Bromham-Nichols said: "There's no excuse.

"I understand there are budget cuts, but you have to make the best of what you've got.

"The fence around it looks like something from Guantanamo Bay, and it has understandably let to some negative comments, which puts the town in a bad light.

"We are a beautiful, historical market town and although the council has fallen short, I want to encourage people in to shop and support the traders."

Neath Town Council has been asked for a comment.

Image caption Carmarthen's Christmas tree at Guildhall Square

At 10m (33ft), Llanelli's tree is bigger than last year, but some residents are still suffering from tree envy.

Joanne Yeo from Llanelli said: "The tree is pitiful and the people of Llanelli deserve better, much better.

"For a town of our size, the tree is simply inadequate. Carmarthen has beautiful, full, larger trees."

Llanelli AM Lee Waters said: "There's already a widely held view that Carmarthen gets a better deal than Llanelli, and it doesn't help when something as daft as this happens.

"This isn't the first time that our tree is the poor relation. I don't understand why they don't just buy the same tree for every town."

Carmarthenshire council's executive board member for leisure services, Cllr Meryl Gravell, said the authority had received "positive comments" about Llanelli's Christmas tree.

She said: "The Christmas tree is an annual addition to the naturally growing trees in Spring Gardens that carry the main display lights.

"Fencing around the base that has been the subject of criticism this year is required for health and safety reasons because it is not naturally growing and does not have the stability of roots."

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