Christmas spirit shone through in a united effort by councils and a business group to ensure that Northallerton will now have a real festive tree in the town’s square this year and every year.
North Yorkshire County Council, its contractor and consultants have worked with Northallerton BID, Hambleton District Council and Northallerton Town Council to put arrangements in place.
BID manager Graham Bell said: “This is something to celebrate for everybody in Northallerton. It is going to be a talking point and something I am sure will be very popular in the town.
“Last year’s artificial cone-shaped tree caused controversy locally and was even branded ‘Britain’s worst Christmas tree’ in the media. This year we want to aim for Britain’s best Christmas tree.
“The partnership has worked hard behind the scenes to enable Northallerton to have a real Christmas tree and this will make it so much easier in future.”
The 22ft tree will stand in a purpose-built pit that has been created in Olympic Square in front of the town hall. This involved sinking a deep metal tube into a concrete foundation that is robust enough to support the tree.
The BID, the district council and town council shared the cost of materials, while county council consultant WSP designed the pit for free and its highways contractor, Ringway, provided free labour to construct it. Most of the year, when a tree is not in place, the pit will be covered and there will be no sign that it is there.
Jayne Charlton, the county council’s area highways improvement manager, said: “This has been about the partners working well together to bring to fruition a project for the whole community. I am sure it will be well received and people will celebrate with us.”
Sophie Garside, deputy clerk for the town council, added: “Having been born and bred in Northallerton, we could not let this opportunity go amiss for the town to have a real tree in the centre and I’m so happy we came together to achieve this.”
The tree will be decorated next week with thousands of lights.