Tree gifted to town to replace "Britain's worst tree" is taken away by Stockton Council (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Tree gifted to town to replace "Britain's worst tree" is taken away by Stockton Council
Craig Harker of The George on Stockton High Street at the place where his Christmas tree once stood.
A PUB landlord who gifted a tree to his home town after it was ridiculed in the national press has expressed his disappointment it was removed for safety reasons.
However, CCTV footage released by Stockton Borough Council has shown the tree nearly hitting a passer-by shortly after 3am this morning. Monday, November 9.
Craig Harker, who owns The George on Stockton High Street, says he was sick of his home town being laughed at after a 20ft white cone was dubbed “Britain’s worst tree” in the media and online.
Mr Harker bought a 15ft tree, plus decorations, and erected the tree on the High Street.
But he was contacted by his staff and then Stockton Borough Council this morning (Monday, November 9) only to be told a JCB had taken the tree away.
Councillor Bob Cook, leader of Stockton Council, said: “Thankfully nobody was injured but I think the CCTV footage speaks for itself really. This is not a case of the council overreacting, more a case of being sensible in light of the windy conditions.
“Our staff recovered the tree after a report that it had been propped up against a barrier.”
Craig Harker, 26, whose first child, Isla, was born 12 days ago, paid hundreds of pounds to get the tree from Spofforth, near Wetherby.
He said he actually liked the ‘cone’ when it was lit up at night and praised the work the authority was doing to improve the High Street.
He said: “We just didn’t like all the bad publicity the town was getting. It was a big shock to hear it was gone. The council said it was health and safety reasons, but I would have done whatever to make it safe.”
There have been various comments on internet sites, including one which said; “the bah-humbug council strikes again,” and another that said, “I guess Stockton council has stolen Christmas...again.”
However, there was also some support for the authority because the ‘cone’ was in fact a gift to the council, and was not a tax-payer expense. Others pointed out that there is a large trees nearby Wellington Square and in the Castlegate Centre.
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