Before Christmas the private company Tree Amigos set up shop on Christ Church Green in Wanstead to sell Xmas trees. This caused some concern with our local shops – seven of which sold trees as well.

Being in direct competition with local retailers, but using prominent public land, we asked Redbridge Council what the tendering process was for this project.

In their response they told us that there wasn’t one. The company had approached the council to hire the green, and that Vision – which runs the parks and green spaces in Redbridge – had given them the green light to do it.

We also asked how much Tree Amigos paid Vision for the hire of the green, but they declined to tell us, saying it is commercially sensitive.

We asked this because without knowing how much was paid, the public can’t tell if that amount was reinvested here or spent elsewhere in Redbridge.

We all understand that councils have to find new ways of making cash, but if there had been a public tender to use public land, or even an outline consultation with local business or the Business Network, it might have produced a better outcome.

What is done is done, but we urge Vision and the council to learn from this. Take the time to talk to local businesses and residents about how Christ Church Green will be used in the future. Our parks and green spaces are publicly owned spaces, and that means the public should be consulted on what it can – and should – be used for.

Scott Wilding

Wanstead Liberal Democrats