The mayor of Liverpool has intervened to try to save mature trees threatened by a housing development adjacent to the city's famous Sefton Park.
Joe Anderson said he is "unhappy" about housebuilder Redrow's proposed felling of the 27 trees at Sefton Park Meadows to make way for executive homes and has asked the developer to reconsider its planning application.
"Like residents, I was unhappy with the number of trees that would be lost and have asked them to amend the scheme to make sure that there is no tree loss if at all possible," he said.
But he added: "Redrow has been receptive to the concerns raised and is continuing to work very closely with the council in making sure the scheme is right, for which I am grateful."
Anderson has supported the 4ha site's development on condition it was "of the highest quality, of low density and in keeping with the area". He added: "It is worth reminding ourselves of the rationale for the development. Quite simply, it is to help offset the eye-watering Government cuts we have faced and will continue to face over the next few years."
Liverpool City Council planning director David Hughes confirmed the mayor "has no role in the determination of planning applications" and that Redrow "will be submitting an amended proposal for the planning authority's consideration".
Meanwhile, local groups are continuing to campaign against any development on the site. Urging objections to the revised application, a statement by Save Sefton Park Meadows said: "A new planning application may involve the removal of fewer trees. However, this does not alter the fact that the meadows will be lost forever."
It added: "Financial difficulties are not material considerations for granting planning approval for housing development."
Sex & The City star Kim Cattrall, who grew up near Sefton Park, has added her voice to the campaign. She said development plans would "encroach on the people's land" and has urged fans via Twitter to oppose them.
Valued resource Part of Liverpool's fabric
Sefton Park Meadows forms part of Liverpool's historic public green space within the title deeds of Sefton Park, though is not formally part of the modern park.
A blanket tree preservation order covers the whole Sefton Park Conservation Area, including the 110 mature and semi-mature trees in the meadows. The area also features in the city's green infrastructure plan and in the Liverpool Nature Conservation Strategy.
According to campaign group Save Sefton Park Meadows, more than 7,000 residents have petitioned to protect the site, with more than 1,300 formal objections made to the initial loss of open space notice.