Barriers around Forest Hill Christmas tree

Does anyone know why there are barriers around the Christmas tree outside WH Smith (and if it’s a safety issue, why are they only around 2 thirds of it?)? It’s so unsightly and I remember it being barrier-less a couple of years ago with no incident…

Though I must admit I often wonder why they’ve chosen to put it in such a high traffic area - with some ingenuity it would look great atop the flower beds nearest the road and would be conveniently out of reach!

I believe it’s for Health & Safety etc. I have seen barriers around lots of Christmas Trees that are on footpaths/areas accessible to the public around London… not sure if it’s everywhere or in all councils though…

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Elf & safety.


As often as not, these sorts of things wind up being driven by a risk assessment which is required for insurance purposes, rather than any specific requirement from the Health & Safety Act.

It’s tempting to blame the nanny state, but it’s a commercial imperative that means if you want to do something with which the public will interact, you need to reduce the chances of them hurting themselves or each other and then suing.

@MrsGideon If you don’t like the barriers there, pick 'em up and move them!

Take along a pair of scissors to cut the plastic tags holding the barriers together (quick snip). You may wish to store them beside WHSmith - on the side leading to the skip yard. If you do remove them then please unwrap the tinsel on them and place it on the tree. Can I also suggest that a good time to make such improvements is late at night after a few drinks with friends at a local pub.

But I’m not advocating such behaviour or suggesting that I’ve done it in previous years. What I am saying is don’t expect somebody else to do these simple things for you!

If anybody does move them then please could somebody post where they have been moved to in case anybody asks. And any tip-off as to where the barriers are relocated to should not be regarded as evidence of guilt, I’m sure we will all be on the look out for works of guerilla tree freedom activists operating in the area. (But it would be really helpful to allow the council to reclaim the barriers so that they don’t need to purchase them for a second year).

Note: This post may well self destruct in a few days time.


Frankly, not sure the barriers are effective in any real sense. Often they can be utilised to gain access higher in the tree.

One recorded fatality in the 2018 Christmas season already in Falkirk with a council tree.

Not particularly high (12 feet or so) but high enough for an inebriated soul to climb it, tumble off and kill himself in the fall.

So, naturally, everyone can make their choices and there can be consequences. Please do not do anything if you cannot deal with any feelings arising from someone being injured or worse. And as we see so often, young children get very excited by the sight of a decorated tree and rush toward them before parents get the chance to restrain them.

I was about to suggest, in a completely unrelated and off topic sense, a evening meeting of a few locals at a pub that may or may not be near the Christmas tree, imbibing what may or may not be a drink known as Dutch courage, and potentially with someone bringing some strong scissors that I may or may not need to borrow for Christmas wrapping.

But you’ve taken the fun out of it now.

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Not for me to be cast in the role of The Grinch.

Nor would I dare suggest that the good citizenry of Forest Hill would be disposed to climbing trees.

Drink beer and cut away.