Solihull town centre is without a Christmas tree this year after a clash over decorations between the council and the town’s major shopping centre.
Solihull Council was ordered to take down its 20ft Christmas tree – a regular feature outside Touchwood Shopping Centre – after the retail centre bosses decided it would get in the way of a light display.
Attempts to place the lone festive fir elsewhere on the High Street were thwarted when it was found to be blocking security cameras.
Now the council is desperately trying to find a spot for the tree somewhere else in the community.
Cabinet Member for Community Services Graham Craig said: “Our Christmas tree has stood in the same place in the High Street for the past five years.
“This year, following the tree being put in place, we were contacted by management at Touchwood requesting us to remove it as they wished to hold a light display on the spot, and felt it blocked access to the centre. They agreed to pay for the relocation of the tree.
“There are limited options where we can relocate the tree, but an alternative location was found in the High Street. However the tree blocked the CCTV cameras, and so we have reluctantly had to remove it.
“Obviously this is disappointing, as we wanted shoppers to enjoy their traditional Christmas tree, but we are now looking for a community venue where the tree can be relocated.”
In the meantime the tree, which was bought from Shirley-based Christmas Tree suppliers Woods Farm, has been taken to a council depot.
Paul Birkett, general manager at Touchwood Shopping Centre, said: “This year we wanted to broaden and enhance the Christmas lighting in the town centre and have created a display of projected snowflakes and white pillars on the High Street.
“We have worked closely with the council throughout our planning stages for Christmas as we all wish to give visitors to Solihull the best Christmas experience possible.”