No waiting for December for the start of Christmas tree sales this year, as Wanstead’s usual vendors start to see how they will fare against the Tree Amigos venture on Christchurch Green.
What is that about? The arrival of the tree seller on the Green has enraged many Wanstead residents on social media, many of whom say it is unfair competition for Wanstead traders.
Why is it there? It’s the first time that the Green has been used in this particular way. Like many other spaces, the Green is run by Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure, a charity which operates facilities on behalf of Redbridge Borough Council. Vision is seeking to make more use of the open spaces and also is seeking to raise money, which it undertakes is reinvested in Redbridge facilities.
What does Redbridge say? In a statement to Wansteadium, a spokesperson for Redbridge said:
“This is the first time we have had a Christmas tree market at Christchurch Green and it has been received positively by many visitors to Wanstead. It is one of a number of events and activities in Wanstead that add to the Christmas season festivities.
“Having unique temporary vendors coming to the borough is all part of our efforts to improve the Christmas experience in the area. The Christmas tree seller at Christchurch Green is also offering reindeer and Father Christmas themed games for children, and has donated to the Silent Auction for Christchurch School Christmas Fayre.
“We have many other activities across Redbridge for the festive season, such as ice skating at Fairlop Waters, and on Saturday 11 December at 4:30pm the Santa Express will be visiting Wanstead.
“We want residents and visitors to come to the local area to shop, eat and drink, all of which benefits our local businesses.”
What do Wanstead councillors say? A statement posted on Facebook by Jo Blackman, Paul Donovan and Daniel Morgan-Thomas says:
We have been assured that the vendor must leave the Green undamaged as part of their agreement; they pay the market rate for use of the space which will be ploughed back by Vision into local leisure and parks maintenance. The fencing is there to protect the stock and help contain the market. We encourage residents to shop locally on our High Street and hope they will also enjoy the activities on the Green this Christmas.
What next: Jo Blackman added she would be monitoring the impact on High Street sellers from the new venture.