Fate of Lancaster's city centre lime trees contested

The fate of mature lime trees in a central Lancaster square has pitted the city's mayor against senior council officials.

Image: Dudesleeper
Image: Dudesleeper

The officials say the seven trees on Market Square are unpopular with businesses and visitors due to their size and the honeydew they deposit on surfaces below.

But the city's mayor, Councillor Jon Barry, said the removal of the trees would make the area a "sterile and uninviting place", adding: "The trees provide welcome shade in summer and remove pollutants from the atmosphere. They can easily be managed with some judicial pruning."

Chief officer for environment at the council Mark Davies said: "Pruning is not the answer as the new growth would attract even more aphids and make the [honeydew] problem even worse. It is also very expensive as it would have to be done regularly."

He added that the loss of the seven would be balanced by seven new trees planted elsewhere in the city, and said he would consider putting trees in planters in the square.

The trees' fate will be decided by planning portfolio holder Councillor Janice Hanson, with other councillors, Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Lancaster Business Improvement District also having their say.

But Barry added: "This is a big decision and it needs to be decided by the full cabinet and not by a single member. People need to be given a chance to give their views."

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