KENDAL’S Christmas tree, which has been slammed for looking half-finished and half-dead by traders, ‘isn’t good enough’, Kendal Town Council has admitted.

Council clerk Liz Richardson has apologised to disgruntled Market Place shopkeepers for the state of this year’s tree, which they said was ‘very disappointing’.

The 21ft tree, from a local supplier, will be illuminated at the festive lights switch-on on Sunday at 4.45pm.

“No one’s happy,” said Travis Watson, assistant manager of Neros. “The tree looks as though it’s dying, the lights are hanging off – it just looks half finished.

“I’m happy there’s a tree but we just want some effort and real money spent on it.”

Brent Ainsworth, of Relish, said the tree was the first thing his customers saw leaving his shop and it created a bad impression of the town. He said: “It looks half dead and absolutely abysmal. I’ve had customers just laughing at it, which is very embarrasing for the town especially at a time of year with so many visitors.”

The decorations, made with plastic and wire by Kendal College arts students, have also come under fire. Agnes Nicholson, of Key Cobblers, said: “The decorations look like deflated balloons or just rubbish that’s blown on to the tree.

“It’s just not good enough.”

The £200 tree traditionally forms the centrepiece of the annual £20,000 Christmas lights investment. It is the same species as last year’s and from the same supplier, which the council declined to name.

“Providing a great tree for Kendal is very important and no one is more disappointed than me,” said Mrs Richardson. “I know people are unhappy with how it looks and we are talking to the supplier. We may go elsewhere next year.

“We like the traditional Christmas tree and we’ve spent a lot of money trying to make Market Place look nice.”

Not all traders were disapointed. Gill Chaldecott, of Market Place Books, said: “It’s very nice to have a tree and I’m sure it will look very nice when the lights are on.”

And Josie Gethin, owner of Chic Boutique, said: “I haven’t got a problem with it. The decorations are a bit poor and some of them have been broken but really I don’t mind it.

“It’s nice to have a tree up at this time of year.”

Kendal College was unavailable for comment.