Locals have blasted a “contemporary” artwork take on a Christmas tree in Brighton with one person calling it an “abomination”.

Festive decorations have been going up around the country as people look forward to Christmas. But in Brighton many people have been left bemused at an artistic take on a tree using “fractal shards of light and colour” that is being displayed at Churchill Square.

Festive spirit was already subdued due to news that the Christmas market had been cancelled and now people have taken to social media to ask what was wrong with a traditional tree and Santa’s grotto.

The design sees large green shards coming down from the ceiling to give a dramatic effect for shoppers looking up due to the reflecting light. But one person posted the artwork on Facebook with the comment: “The wonderful Churchill Square Christmas tree” with a hint of sarcasm.

The new design has replaced a traditional tree

Many replied with one person saying: “When I was a young, I remember Churchill Square had a massive Christmas Tree where Santa's Grotto was part of the tree at the bottom. Those were the days!” Another called it an “abomination” while other comments included “shocking” and “embarrassing”.

One person said: “Brighton doesn’t seem to know how to celebrate Christmas, or it doesn’t care, almost avoiding the occasion. It chose not to have a Christmas market this year. Missed a trick there financially and getting into the mood, and its decorations are the same recycled vacant slogans they use each year.

“The ‘Christmas tree’ in the mall represents Brighton’s efforts with Christmas: abstract, post-modern dull. Luckily we have Hove, which put up a fantastically tall real tree in Palmeira Square to set the scene.”

Shoppers have criticised the new artwork

James Glancy Design made the artwork with the company also having made festive displays in Regent Street and Carnaby Street, in London, and the Trinity shopping centre in Leeds. A description of the Brighton artwork reads: “This contemporary scheme reimagines a Christmas tree as a series of fractal shards of light and colour, culminating in a sculptural atrium mobile. Constructed from vibrant, iridescent material, Fractal Christmas reflects the vibrancy and contemporary outlook of Brighton and Hove.”

Meanwhile residents in Hattersley, Greater Manchester, have criticised a "shocking" Christmas tree, dubbed a "twig", planted by the council, which has now offered to replace it to appease people.

The "living tree" was put in place several years ago but hasn't thrived and now has several boughs missing - with those remaining looking very thin. The sad state of the tree prompted severe criticism from residents when they noticed workmen had decorated it with lights and put barriers around it on Monday morning in time for Friday's lights switch-on.