Clacton: Business chiefs club together for new town Christmas tree

The Clacton Christmas tree, which has now been removed, captured on camera by twitter user Sammy Jo

The Clacton Christmas tree, which has now been removed, captured on camera by twitter user Sammy Jo Machin - Credit: Archant

Councillors are celebrating an early Christmas present after two businesses showed their festive spirit by stepping forward to pay for a 30ft replacement tree for a north-east Essex town.

Tendring District Council (TDC) leader Peter Halliday said it was “very disappointing” to tear down a smaller and generously donated 12ft tree in Clacton-on-Sea on Friday due to concerns over it failing to live up to people’s expectations and its exposure to harsh coastal weather.

The tree had only been erected the day before, following a good-will gesture by The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), and the difficult decision to bring it down led to an appeal for help in finding a suitable replacement for the town square.

But the council yesterday confirmed two sponsors have come forward to fund the new 30ft Christmas tree and its transportation from Elveden Forest.

Consultants Mott MacDonald, who has been working with TDC on a new sea defence project, has contributed £785 towards the cost. The FSB has also offered £200 to the project.

It is hoped the tree will go up next week.

Mr Halliday said he was delighted the town will now be getting a Christmas tree in keeping with the prominent site, particularly with the festive lights switch-on, late-night shopping and a traditional continental market lined up over the coming weeks.

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“We are very grateful to Mott MacDonald and the FSB for stepping in with this generous gesture, which I am sure will be greatly appreciated by residents and businesses alike,” he said.

“The tree should be delivered during the next week and will be put up and decorated – and will stay there until the New Year.”

He said it was “very unfortunate” that the original tree was too small for the setting and would not have withstood the strong winds that often blow down Pier Avenue.

“It is a shame and the first tree would have been fine in a different location,” he added.

“However the main thing is that we will have a superb tree in the square for everyone to enjoy and it will be a festive and joyful Christmas in Clacton-on-Sea as normal.”

A decision over the future of the first tree will be made in due course.

Meanwhile, the FSB is supporting other retailers over the festive period by supplying Christmas trees to high streets across Essex, including Frinton-on-Sea, Walton-on-the-Naze and Braintree.

David Miles, Essex FSB chairman, said: “Project Christmas Tree has been very well received by the towns that have asked for our help and we are delighted to lend a hand to help the independent retail community.

“With pressure from internet shopping and the relentless growth in out-of-town shopping, promoting our high streets, which are the jewel in the crown of retail, is crucial to ensure that they are able to thrive.”