Louth councillors will re-vote on artificial Christmas Tree

Louth town councillors will re-vote on the artificial Christmas Tree next week.
Louth town councillors will re-vote on the artificial Christmas Tree next week.

Councillors have called for a re-vote on the decision to spend £7,500 on Louth’s artificial Christmas tree, claiming that new information has come to light since the decision was made last month.

The spend caused much debate in the town after district and town councillor, Jill Makinson-Sanders, said in her newsletter the tree would be imported from China and shipped over to the UK, raising concerns over the environmental impact.

Supporters however said this was not entirely true, with the majority of the tree’s frame made in Britain with British Steel.

They also argued the tree would produce lower carbon emissions over a 10 year period.

The decision to buy the tree was approved by a vote of 10-8 at a recent town council meeting.

Now, Councillors Dawn Jackman, Andrew Leonard and Darren Hobson have ‘called in’ the decision to an extraordinary meeting of the authority on Tuesday, September 17.

Coun Leonard told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines: “I think they made a great mistake on purchasing this tree.

“Subsequent to the decision, new information has been gathered.”

According to Coun Leonard, Louth Town Council has a six month buffer on votes in which time they can be recalled.

“It’s a chance to rescind the decision,” said Coun Leonard who, along with Coun Makinson-Sanders, visited the tree’s suppliers prior to the meeting.

“It’s an opportunity for the public and town council to review the situation, and if they choose to vote for it then it’s on their head.”

He said new information included add-on costs previously thought unnecessary, including the hire of machinery to erect the tree, storage, and “other minor details that make up a lot of information we weren’t aware of originally.”

Coun Jackman, who had been absent for the previous vote, had her own concerns, including the costs to deal with anti-social behaviour or damage to the tree.

The council has also been contacted by a local tree grower who has provided evidence against the use of the plastics in the tree.

Coun Leonard said there had been a strong swell of public reaction.

Meanwhile, Coun Hannah Filer - a supporter of the artificial tree - said: “I am surprised that we are being asked to make a decision on this for the third time, despite previously clarifying all points raised in session.

“I welcome the opportunity to answer any additional questions regarding the tree from fellow councillors or members of the public on Tuesday evening and being able to move ahead with our plans for Christmas 2019”

• Next Tuesday’s meeting starts with a public forum at 6.45pm.