Christmas tree sales start early

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.

15 thoughts on “Christmas tree sales start early”

  1. I was puzzled by the fencing round Christchurch Green when I was on the High Street yesterday and was disappointed not to be able to see the view across the green. It looks a bit of a mess in to me. I thought it was a fair of some sort. I hope local vendors are not disadvantaged. Were they consulted/informed?

  2. The fencing is an eyesore and prevents the lovely view of the park whilst approaching the high Street.
    It started far too early and is not needed. Of course it will take away custom from high street vendors!
    Another bad decision by Vision who don’t seem to listen to residents and are just about making money. Shame on the Council!

  3. If you had lost 65% of your funding over the last 10 years you might want to try schemes to make some income. That is the position Redbridge Council are in with respect to central government funding.

    1. With the lockdowns, we’ve all had to tighten our belts in the last couple of years. Instead of bringing in outsider traders in competition with the high street, the council should be helping the local traders to get back on their feet and recover lost ground.

  4. Disgraceful that someone can rent that public space to the detriment of local Shops who have had two years of lost trade, pay huge amounts in Business Rates, had reduced parking facilities and in competition by someone who can undercut their prices.

    I hope locals boycott the place in a clear message to the council.

  5. So there are the views from the councillors/authorities justifying there position as usual. I wonder what the local residents of Wanstead think of it? Anyone asked them? As one myself my thoughts are:

    * This is a huge compound with +no+ Xmas market / activities at all. Its an out of the area seller of Xmas trees who have been allowed to set up along with a van, portaloo and ugly compound fence and allowed take part of our park community space
    * It takes away business from local shops like Heads n Tails after a difficult year and a half for many businesses
    * As far as I know there was no consultation with local residents

    Lets call it what it is – its not an Xmas attraction, its an out of town seller that has been allowed to setup a large compound selling stuff in our community space. No doubt the council was attracted by £££ (what will that income be spent on?) What next ? Any other businesses allowed to come in and setup stall without consultation or consideration for local businesses?

  6. I agree, that the signage could do with something more. Maybe a Merry Christmas at the opposite end to the company name to brighten it up?
    There may be a small impact to the Hgh Street vendors, but maybe that can be compensated by the additional foot fall on the High Street?

    I’m in favour of the council trying new ventures on the green to bring the Christmas spirit to the High Street. They have to see what works and what doesn’t e.g. I like the ice rink vibe…

    This is a short event and brings crucial revenue to Vision who will use the money generated for the good of the parks across the Borough…
    People should take a balanced view and not always think about commercial interests?

  7. what utter rubbish spouted by the council representative.! This is simply a means for Vision to try to make money at the expense of local traders. First they hit the cafes, restaurants and pubs with their kiosk / cafe proposal. Now they attack the local florists. Who will they target next?
    Neither is there merit in the “increase in local trade” argument. Who is going to travel to Wanstead and try to find somewhere tp park in order to purchase their Christmas tree? No wonder there is anger among the traders!

      1. I couldn’t said it better Geoff and Paul, I and most 100% agree with you!

        Boycott that ugly mess on our Green and support Wanstead High Street traders.

  8. The Council clearly wish to turn Christchurch Green into a Commercial Shopping Arena. It is totally ridiculous to say that they want to bring more footfall to Wanstead as we are already popular partly thanks to a lovely Green and a great range of High Street shops who have worked hard to remain open during the pandemic. Competition from this huge Christmas Tree market is NOT welcomed by local residents nor shop keepers.

  9. Isn’t the word ‘Christmas’ frowned upon these days, especially by the likes of this council, yet no problem when there’s some revenue to be had.

  10. The same council that recently was force to apologise for paying thousands for some nonsense to promote children’s libraries including a male dressed in a monkey outfit dangling it’s genitalia.

    No consultation except for the colour of the envelopes .

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