Tree gifted to town to replace "Britain's worst tree" is taken away by Stockton Council

Darlington and Stockton Times: Craig Harker of The George on Stockton High Street at the place where his Christmas tree once stood. 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.

Comments (9)

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5:25pm Mon 9 Dec 13

JetMorgan says...

I heard that SBC stated that HE didn't have a PERMIT for the Tree and THAT was why it was taken away ! BUT, if they have taken it and denied him the use of it PERMANENTLY, isn't THAT THEFT by SBC ???
I heard that SBC stated that HE didn't have a PERMIT for the Tree and THAT was why it was taken away ! BUT, if they have taken it and denied him the use of it PERMANENTLY, isn't THAT THEFT by SBC ??? JetMorgan

7:16pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Kilma- says...

This storyline is hilarious. Only in Stockton!
This storyline is hilarious. Only in Stockton! Kilma-

8:29am Tue 10 Dec 13

Snilly says...

MORE SHAME added to the town by SBC.

When will they get it the hard working tax payers don't want to live in a town with the WORST Christmas tree we want the BEST Christmas Tree. Why not?? We have payed our taxes give us what we want.

Or doesnt it work that way?
MORE SHAME added to the town by SBC. When will they get it the hard working tax payers don't want to live in a town with the WORST Christmas tree we want the BEST Christmas Tree. Why not?? We have payed our taxes give us what we want. Or doesnt it work that way? Snilly

3:28pm Tue 10 Dec 13

DarloXman says...

Do Stockton Council have a PR department?

A classic example of how to make a bad story WORSE!!

Well done Bob "Grinch" Cook - you have saved Christmas in Stockton by ensuring no-one was injured during this season of joy and merriment!
Do Stockton Council have a PR department? A classic example of how to make a bad story WORSE!! Well done Bob "Grinch" Cook - you have saved Christmas in Stockton by ensuring no-one was injured during this season of joy and merriment! DarloXman

8:58pm Tue 10 Dec 13

calumannabel says...

Surely the council could have bought a hard hat for every resident or safety turbans for the majority then the tree could have stayed up.
Surely the council could have bought a hard hat for every resident or safety turbans for the majority then the tree could have stayed up. calumannabel

9:02pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Peggy2 says...

I am sure that the Businesses ' around that area are all still paying their Council Tax and they deserve the same Christmas decorations as the rest of the town to encourage shoppers to their premises. They shouldn't have to have the expense of providing their own decorations, it should be done automatically.
I am sure that the Businesses ' around that area are all still paying their Council Tax and they deserve the same Christmas decorations as the rest of the town to encourage shoppers to their premises. They shouldn't have to have the expense of providing their own decorations, it should be done automatically. Peggy2

9:28pm Tue 10 Dec 13

stuwalker says...

the tree is sitting in Birse civils yard on Boathouse lane Mr Harker if you want to cliam it back . Spotted it today
the tree is sitting in Birse civils yard on Boathouse lane Mr Harker if you want to cliam it back . Spotted it today stuwalker

12:22am Wed 11 Dec 13

nigel d says...

Mind you them needle thingies can be really sharp they'll have your eye out if they get a chance.
Mind you them needle thingies can be really sharp they'll have your eye out if they get a chance. nigel d

11:53pm Wed 11 Dec 13

smokin says...

nigel d wrote:
Mind you them needle thingies can be really sharp they'll have your eye out if they get a chance.
too late for having your eyes out love the councils already took them lol
[quote][p][bold]nigel d[/bold] wrote: Mind you them needle thingies can be really sharp they'll have your eye out if they get a chance.[/p][/quote]too late for having your eyes out love the councils already took them lol smokin

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