IT'S beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Neilston...after the village gained a sustainable tree that can be used to celebrate the festive season every year.

The giant fir tree has been planted as part of a revamp of Pig Square, near Main Street.

Councillor Paul O’Kane confirmed that the latest addition to the village landscape can be lit each year – meaning there is no need to buy a new tree every time Christmas comes around.

Until now, the costs involved in bringing in a festive tree have normally had to be met by local businesses or the Neilston War Memorial Association (NWMA).

Councillor O’Kane told the Barrhead News: “For many, many years, we have had to get a grant to pay for a Christmas tree in Neilston.

“One year it would be local businesses helping to fund it, other times it has been a Lottery grant and, last year, we had real difficulty getting a tree at all.

“We also had the conversation of how sustainable it is on two fronts – firstly having to raise money to purchase a tree and, secondly, cutting down a tree every year after it has been used.

“When we put out the idea of planting something long-term, a lot of people responded well to that.”

Councillor O’Kane, who represents  Newton Mearns North and Neilston took the idea to East Renfrewshire Council, in the hope of the village being given funds for the regeneration of Pig Square.

“I went away and negotiated with the council and one of the aspects I argued for was for the tree to be planted,” he added. “It is great to see that it’s now there.

“The intention is to have the tree lit up for Christmas time. Myself and Matt Drennan, of NWMA, look after the Christmas plans. There has been a couple of suggestions from the community to remember those who are no longer with us by doing a Light Up a Life event, so there are lots of options.

“It is a really nice tree that will, in the future, serve many purposes. Predominantly, the focus is to light it up at Christmas time.

“When I went up to see the tree, it looked stunning on a nice day, with the sun splitting the branches, and I’m sure it will look even better in a Neilston winter.”

Along with the tree being planted, the Pig Square renovation project includes new flower beds and seating.