Is this the worst Christmas tree in Britain? Residents boo at ‘pathetic’ lights switch on that cost council £83k

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The scrawny Christmas tree in Herne Bay town centre which was booed by residents when the lights were turned on
The scrawny Christmas tree in Herne Bay town centre which was booed by residents when the lights were turned on

This lacklustre festive scene was today slammed as the worst decorated Christmas tree in Britain – after crowds booed at the switch on.

A crowd of over 1,000 was left stunned by the “shocking” lights – part of the town’s £83,000 worth of festive decorations – when pantomime stars Gareth Gates and Toyah Wilcox flicked the switch.

Onlookers spontaneously broke into boos and jeers when the anti-climactic of lights – which barely covered the tree – flickered into life.

The Christmas tree in Herne Bay town centre which residents booed when it had the lights turned on
The Christmas tree in Herne Bay town centre which residents booed when it had the lights turned on

Other Christmas revellers in Herne Bay, Kent, stormed off in disgust.

One resident condemned the decorations as looking like a couple of domestic lightbulbs, while a local businessman laughingly claimed he had more decorations in his own shop window.

Shop owners  slammed the council for wasting tax payers money and said the lights were so bad that they would damage their vital Christmas trade.

Revellers huddled in the bitter cold to view the town’s grand switch-on, on Friday evening,  but most left nearly two hours earlier than expected.

The council had hoped the lights would encourage a flurry of late night shopping and urged businesses to open until 7pm – but most potential shoppers had left by 5.45pm.

Greengrocer Stan Truelove, 57, said: “It took me an hour to put some lights and a few decorations up in my shop and it definitely looks better than these lights.

“We were asked to keep our shops open until 7pm but everyone left at 5.45pm.

“Christmas tree lights are supposed to put you in the mood for shopping but no one will want to spend money here.

“The lights are a waste of money because they look terrible.”

Singer Toyah Wilcox, pictured, and Pop Idol winner Gareth Gates turned on the tree's lights, but even the presence of the music stars did little to placate the crowd
Singer Toyah Wilcox, pictured, and Pop Idol winner Gareth Gates turned on the tree’s lights, but even the presence of the music stars did little to placate the crowd (Photo: Eddie Mallin)

Steve Warrener, a sports shop owner, said: “I think it must have been embarrassing for the council.

“There were a lot of people there and we had two stars in Gareth Gates and Toyah Willcox. What must they have thought?

“There was no wow factor there at all. I just walked away.”

A disappointed mum-of-three, who asked not to be named, said: “I could not believe how bad the lights are.

“It was supposed to be this grand unveiling but the lights look atrocious – they were so bad people started booing.

“I think it must be the country’s worst set of Christmas tree lights.”

Salon owner Lou Richards said: “I’m absolutely fuming. Why would you come to Herne Bay to see light bulbs? The tree is an absolute joke.”

Canterbury City Council have now launched a consultation over the Christmas tree lights.

A spokesman said: “The display in Herne Bay this year is the same as last year’s, with the exception of some netting.

“Consultation on Christmas lights will start with businesses soon and we’ll be keen to talk to those traders who are showing an interest in the display in their towns.”

Costal Towns manger Chris West said: “There was more than a thousand people and it was bigger crowd than in Whitsable.”

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