Barking town centre chiefs import £25k trees from Germany

'Cost effective': The Labour council said the imported trees were purchased with Mayor of London fun

'Cost effective': The Labour council said the imported trees were purchased with Mayor of London funding - Credit: Archant

Town centre bosses splashed £25,000 on mature trees imported from Germany, it emerged today.

Workers planted the silver birch trees, pleached beech trees and a pinus bonzai this week in a bid to spruce up the new plaza around the Technical Skills Academy in Barking.

Barking and Dagenham Council stressed the funding came from a Mayor of London regeneration grant used to improve high streets in the capital.

But retired photographer Malcolm Craig criticised council chiefs over the expenditure, claiming similar trees could have been purchased in the UK at a fraction of the cost.

Mr Craig, of Barking, said: “It’s an awful lot of money. The funding could be used to fill some of our potholes.”

The Labour council indicated that importing the 18 trees was cost effective, adding it had chosen mature trees because they are more robust than saplings.

A council spokesman said: “Similar public realm improvement projects are being delivered in other outer London boroughs as part of this funding stream. Funding is not coming from the council.

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“The trees could only be sourced from Germany as appropriately sized and mature pinus bonsai and pleached beech trees were not available in this country at the time of purchase.

“It was then more cost effective to also source the birch trees from the same supplier.”

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