`

'Row over £1,500 charge to erect Christmas tree won't spoil our fun' - Sheffield dad's pledge to community

Last Christmas, Sheffield dad, Kevin Palmer, helped make his wife Joanne's festive dream come true when he worked together with Sheffield Council and Amey to put a tree on the Greenhill roundabout.
Last Christmas, Sheffield dad, Kevin Palmer, helped make his wife Joanne's festive dream come true when he worked together with Sheffield Council and Amey to put a tree on the Greenhill roundabout.

A Sheffield man says he is determined to provide his community with the festive decorations they deserve, after a row with Amey over a £1,500 charge to erect a Christmas tree left him feeling 'disappointed'.

Last Christmas, Sheffield dad, Kevin Palmer, helped make his wife Joanne's festive dream come true when he worked together with Sheffield Council and Amey to put a tree on the Greenhill roundabout.

Amey planted another tree on the roundabout so the new festive tradition could be enjoyed by the community for years to come, but due to the tree only reaching a couple of feet in height, Mr Palmer contacted Amey again and asked them whether they would be able to provide him with another Christmas tree in time for this year's celebrations.

Mr Palmer, of Westwick Road, Greenhill says Amey initially told him they would able to provide him with a tree free of charge, but said he would need to pay them £500 to erect the tree itself, due to the fact they would incur costs of £1,500 for putting the tree up.

The dad-of-two says that instead of paying the £500 charge he told Amey that he would enlist friends to help him erect the free tree they had offered him, but says they told him this would not be possible on health and safety grounds.

"I was willing to try and raise the £500 they had asked me to put towards it, but I wanted a break-down so I could at least to explain to the people I would be asking to contribute what the money would be spent on," said Mr Palmer.

The 54-year-old added: "But they wouldn't tell me, and I think they've been completely unprofessional about the whole thing. Last year, I had nothing but praise for them, they were great throughout, but they've been the opposite this year."

And following further discussions, he says Amey have now told him they will not be able to provide him with a free Christmas tree after all.

When contacted, a spokesman for Amey said they would not be able to provide information on, or explain, the estimated cost of erecting a Christmas tree on the Greenhill roundabout due to the information being 'commercially sensitive'.

They also did not respond directly to Mr Palmer's claim that they had asked him for a sum of £500 to erect the Christmas tree.

Their spokesman said: “In 2016, Mr Palmer contacted Streets Ahead to request a Christmas tree be planted on the roundabout by Greenhill shops. We were delighted to help him make his wife’s wish come true. A tree was installed to help with local Christmas celebrations and support the start of a festive tradition for the people living in Greenhill for years to come. In addition to the tree planted by Streets Ahead, Mr Palmer also requested an extra cut tree for last year celebrations, which was supplied as a one-off gesture of goodwill.

“Unfortunately, this year, we are unable to provide an extra tree free of charge and hope that locals will continue to use the existing planted Christmas tree as part of their celebrations. During the discussions with Mr Palmer last year we did state that if he requested an additional tree in the future there would be an associated cost. However, neither Streets Ahead or Amey are in the business of supplying Christmas Trees annually.”

Mr Palmer said he was 'disappointed' by Amey's response to his plans for a Greenhill Christmas celebration, and is now working with business owners in the area to decorate the Greenhill shops instead.

He said: "We're going to turn a negative into a positive, and put Amey's disappointment behind us, and sort out our own Christmas decorations which will make Greenhill's the best in the city.

"I'm determined this won't ruin Christmas!"