|Lancaster Market Square. Photo: John Freeman|
Green councillors have condemned a City Council report to recommending removal of all seven mature lime trees from Market Square, a decision that will be in the hands of just one single Labour member of cabinet - presumably either Janice Hansen or David Smith.
Marsh ward councillor and current mayor of Lancaster, Jon Barry, has previously argued strongly for retention of the trees in Market Square.
""Removal of the trees would make the centre of town a sterile and uninviting place," he argues. "They soften the stonework of Market Square and provide welcome shade in summer. In addition, they remove pollutants from the atmosphere and do their bit to remove carbon dioxide. Chopping down the trees would destroy 40 years of growth at a single step. The trees can easily be managed with some judicial pruning."
The future of the tress was previously discussed at cabinet in 2011. Then it was decided to remove one of the trees, which was replaced by two additional trees further down Market Street.
"This is a big decision for the City Council and it needs to be decided by the full cabinet meeting and not by a single member. People need to be given a chance to give their views on the trees."
One has to wonder if the criticised decision to relay Market Street and Market Square with stone that some find slippery when wet, exacerbated by wet leaves at this time of year, might also have influenced the recommendation. Cutting back the trees before winter might be a more agreeable solution.
UPDATE: In the comments to this story, the Lancaster BID team have posted the following:
"Lancaster City Council have approached us (Lancaster Business Improvement District) to consult with the businesses on their experiences of the trees situated in Market Square. Lancaster City Council are not proposing to remove the trees, but to replace them with a more suitable species for the space. The BID will communicate the opinions of the city centre businesses to the council, to ensure their views are heard."