Another residents' petition challenges council's tree-felling plans

A petition to save prominent lime trees in a central Lancaster square has triggered a full council debate, mirroring similar recent grass-roots action in Sheffield.

Lancaster's Market Square (marked) lies in an area of low tree canopy cover - image: Google
Lancaster's Market Square (marked) lies in an area of low tree canopy cover - image: Google

A demonstration in the city's Market Square on Saturday 16 January yielded a paper petition with more than 1,700 signatures, after Lancaster City Council said an online petition, which had attracted a similar number of signatories, was in an ineligible format.

Petition organiser Cherry Canovan said: "The fact that we amassed so many signatures in such a short space of time demonstrates the strength of feeling among Lancaster residents on this issue.

"I and the other campaigners now hope that our local councillors will listen to the electorate and save the Market Square limes."

The council was due to make a decision on the trees' fate at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday 19 January, but the petition has now triggered a full debate by all councillors, to be held at Morecambe Town Hall on 3 February.

Cabinet member for regeneration Councillor Janice Hanson has defended the plans to chop down the seven 40-year-old lime trees, saying the honeydew they deposit on pavements below makes them hazardous, adding the council would "move quickly" to replace the trees with "three to four new trees in planters".

But many residents, including the city's Mayor Jon Barry, have argued that this was insufficient justification for chopping down the trees.

The council has also claimed the trees block out light from the square, obscure buildings, and cost around £10,000 a year to maintain.

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