Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council moved swiftly in response to criticism of this year’s Christmas tree in Ballyclare.
Staff from the local authority were dispatched to measure the tree on Tuesday, after residents had claimed it was too small. It was erected on Monday (November 21).
Responding to the criticism, a council spokesperson said: “Staff have been out on site today to assess the tree and have confirmed that the height of the tree is 30ft – which is the same specification as previous years and other locations such as Glengormley.
“Once dressed, the tree will look well and a taller tree would be more susceptible to damage by the wind etc. due to its location at the top of the town. The current 30ft height is the optimum height for this location.” A number of residents had taken to social media to voice their frustration about the tree in The Square.
Commenting on Facebook, one annoyed resident said: “What a miserable specimen. Doagh and Ballyrobert have lovely trees. This is a town centre for goodness sake. I am disgusted.”
Another person hit out, saying: “What a disgraceful effort for Ballyclare! Would have been better not bothering putting a tree up, rather than that attempt.”
One man branded the tree “awful”.
He said: “Absolutely awful! What has Ballyclare turned into? Have the councillors of this town got no respect for the town at all? Ballyclare really has gone on a one-way track downhill and they seem to be trying to wipe the town off the face of the earth with all these farcical decisions that they are making.”
Cllr David Arthurs had called on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to replace the tree.
Speaking to the Times, he said: “When I saw the tree, I thought it looked tiny. No way is it good enough for the town. I have made my thoughts clear to the relevant officers at the council and have asked them to replace it.”
The UUP representative added: “It just isn’t good enough and it needs fixed.
“I hope council will rectify it. Ballyclare deserves better.”
These sentiments were echoed by his party colleague, Cllr Vera McWilliam, who said: “It is a nice tree, but it is too small for the town. Ballyclare is a large town and should have a large tree in the town centre.”
The Christmas lights are set to be switched on at a special event in the town on Saturday evening.