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Torquay palm tree arrives... but is it a waste of money?

By Herald Express  |  Posted: October 19, 2012

  • STEADY AS SHE GOES: The palm tree is winched into position Robert Excell

  • having their say: From left, Thomas Bannerman, Chris Wylie and Pat and Bill Cormack

  • bit of fun: Caroline Watson

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A £7,000 palm tree arrived in Torquay under the cover of darkness on Monday night.

Torbay mayor Gordon Oliver and Cllr Robert Excell were on hand to see the controversial addition to the English Riviera winched into place.

It will stay on the roundabout at Kerswell Gardens for the next three years until the bypass is in place.

On the streets of Torbay, the general consensus was the palm tree is a waste of money.

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Thomas Bannerman, 76, from Chelston, Torquay, said: "I don't approve of it. I think it is a waste of money especially as it is only for three years.

"There must be something else they can spend their money."

Pat and Bill Cormack, from Exeter, said: "What a waste of money. Besides, if you want to put a palm tree there, what's wrong with a Torbay Palm?

"They could be spending that money on education, sport or have a nice sculpture instead which would be a long lasting statement and is more specific to the Bay."

Caroline Watson, who lives on a yacht in Dartmouth, said: "It's fine. I just question whether it is worth £7,000.

"It's a bit of fun and holidaymakers like that kind of thing. They will remember it and come back to see it."

Chris Wylie, 59, from Kingskerswell, said: "Why have a palm tree there if it is going to be ripped up in three years time when the bypass is complete?

"Why not wait three more years and put in something more permanent? Surely it would have saved them money.

"I don't think it was the right time to spend money on something like this. The economy is not right, When they put up council tax next year we will ask them why they decided to spend our money on a palm tree."

Readers of our website are not convinced about the value of the palm tree.

So far, 69 per cent of those voting say it is a waste of money and there are better ways to spend the cash.

The other 31 per cent say it is perfectly reasonable, and a way of making the place look more welcoming.

You can cast your vote at www.thisissouthdevon.co.uk/polls

Read more from Torquay Herald Express

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  • dizzycrone  |  November 16 2012, 1:21PM

    Why didn't they use a Torbay palm? it would winter fine, and would be less expencive, also they could have planted shrubs around it, not a garden of dreadful rocks.. I felt quite ashamed when our guests from France laughed at this monstosity.. and now the council is paying to floodlight the dam thing.. this is total lunacy

    |   1
  • nicold  |  November 10 2012, 7:17PM

    Well thank god it wasn't an Ash tree!

    |   3
  • Sinjis_Things  |  November 10 2012, 4:26PM

    I don't know why such a fuss is made about the palm trees. They are ugly and unattractive and there are many better looking plants and trees which could have been planted. In addition it was thoughtless of the council , in these recessionary times, to buy something from abroad when buying something locally would have been better for the economy.

    |   4
  • Karen362  |  November 10 2012, 12:49PM

    But Becky, it probably costs more in labour and bedding plants to do what you suggest than just stick a palm there! It would cost around 1200 quid + a week just to hire a gardener on the minimum wage and that's without the cost of the plants, equipment and transport involved. Perhaps someone at the council could give us a comparative costing so we can finally put this one to bed? (if you'll excuse the pun)

  • BeckyManley19  |  November 10 2012, 12:04PM

    I'm sorry but the Government and local council complain that they are struggling to boost the economy and waste £7,000 of our tax money on a stupid pineapple! This is just a joke...this won't help tourism! There is a bank that looks beautiful enough with flowers spelling out ENGLISH RIVIERA with a tree and now when you drive on one of the roads that faces this tree, you cannot see the bank at all! This money could be spent on better things such as education, health or help for families etc... My family and I are struggling as it is with our financial situation! Me and my mum are looking for a part-time job (been searching for over 6 months now) just to earn a bit of cash towards the extortionate cost of living. I attend college and have to pay over £400 for transport alone and that's just for one year! I just cannot believe the decision they have made about this!!!! I would write many letters of complaint showing my utter disgust and concern but it won't work...they will just ignore me! Do they not realise what most people are going through at the moment? Obviously not!

    |   4
  • Karen362  |  October 27 2012, 2:15PM

    I like it. Although, I'd rather have a golden one like Vegas...

    |   -1
  • Dick__Palmer  |  October 27 2012, 12:30PM

    @Rivieraknowseverythingaboutpalms I "do not walk around with my eyes closed" some people unlike your sorry self are not obsessed with every bloody palm tree that ever lived in the uk!! "their everywhere"? lol just a tad sensationalized don't you think? you should write **** for aol you would be good at it!! .I was talking about local palms..not about the whole of the uk...that's what this story is about remember??? and I am sorry if I have not noticed everyone that has been planted locally I must try not to look at the road when driving I should gaze around more hoping to catch a glimpse of a Jubaea Chilensis!!! this story is not about how much mr riviera bloody palms knows about every one that has been planted since time began..get a life!! the question here is will it be killed by a palm weevil ??answer we don't know..not even the mayor could be bother to respond to your emails....(no doubt he has had a few!) and the other question...is it a waste of money?? YES it is !! not trying to be rude (you would know it if I was) buy you are slightly obsessed and need to get a life.....ok thats my rant over..maybe you could come back at me and point out my spelling mistakes or something if your not too busy knocking one out over "palm it to palms weekly" ;0) summary ...ITS A WASTE OF MONEY!!

    |   1
  • RivieraPalms  |  October 25 2012, 7:47PM

    @Dick The red palm weevil kills all kinds of palms. I sent an email to the Mayor about this although he should have already been advised about it and all palms should be screened at the point of departure and entry into the UK as well as by the council. As for the tallest palm in the mainland, and Canary Island Date Palms in general, you have only seen 1 in a greenhouse? Well you must be walking around with you're eyes closed as they are everywhere. If you mean fully mature one's I don't know how you would know that they won't reach maturity when they have only been widely planted in the last 15 years. The one's that have been planted over the last 100 years are massive and grow fine. The largest palm in the UK is the Jubaea Chilensis at Kew in London, which also happens to be the largest on planet earth. The largest Jubaea Chilensis on the entire northern hemisphere of earth planted from seed and permanently grown outdoors are in Meadfoot Torquay and have never seen a green house. Not trying to be rude but you don't know what you are talking about.

    |   -2
  • Dick__Palmer  |  October 25 2012, 11:42AM

    Reply to Riviera palms thankyou for the information..to be honest I was aware of all that....and you have avoided the pertinent question...is this breed of palm open to attack from the palm killer pests? The palm in chelston has been admired by me for a long time..I have lived just round the corner from it for the last twenty years..im pretty sure there used too be two big palms in that garden ..and one died ! ....the tallest palm on the mainland WOULD have been the one in torre abbey mansions and I was quite mad when they chopped it down for becoming to big for the green house! so the summary: Too small,too expensive! FAIL!

    |   3
  • robocop1982  |  October 24 2012, 8:31PM

    i'd buy that for a dollar

    |   -1

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      Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver plans to spend £7,000 on a palm tree as part of a £20,000 scheme to spruce up the gateway to Torquay. Is it: