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The arrival of Christmas Square March 2009

After years (and years!) of campaigning by the HWA, we finally achieved our permanent Christmas tree and small extension of the pedestrian area at the junction of the High Street with Park Road, which we like to think of as our village square. It’s officially called St John’s Place but unofficially everyone knows it as Christmas Square.

The HWA wanted a permanent Christmas tree in part to avoid the cost and waste of providing a new, cut, tree each year for the Christmas Carols and Christmas lights. We battled for ages with the council who said we couldn only have an indigenous tree – and suggested various deciduous trees that they would permit. We weren’t sure which part of “Christmas” and “tree” they weren’t getting.

Then we suggested a yew – it’s indigenous and also very prevalent locally (Hampton Court etc), is evergreen and shapes beautifully into a Christmas tree. The council were worried because they thought it was poisonous. Local (two times winner of Chelse Flower Show) gardening expert, Cleve West, helped come to the rescue by pointing out (in his column in the Independent) that very few cases of poisoning were known and these arose from brewing masses of the leaves into a tea and drinking it!

At last the council relented and, with contribution from the HWA, offered to source and plant the yew tree. In the event, the ‘indigenous’ tree that the council supplied was shipped in from Germany. Hey ho!

These are pictures of the square in its very early days, before the final dressing with the light-coloured gravel surfacing that we know today.

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