Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Greens Condemn Proposals to Remove all Trees from Lancaster's Market Square

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."

10 comments:

Ian said...

As a 70-year old who walks down Market Street frequently I want to say that the resurfacing is much better than the old surface - it is only slippery in wet weather when there are seeds or other detritus on it. The trees add greatly to the ambience of the area and should only be removed if they make it unsafe.

Andrew Walker said...

The Council would do well to pay attention to research carried out in Lancaster:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1m0KylS04ZqwcswP5Q8MQQq/the-big-air-pollution-experiment

David Chandler said...

Here's an idea. If the leaves cause a slip hazard, sweep them up. I appreciate there are cut-backs to Council services but they find time to plant thousands of flowers on roundabouts, so I'm sure a quick sweep isn't beyond them.

David Chandler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachael Wilkinson said...

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. The Lancaster BID team.

John Swanton said...

A colleague of mine, no, an old and dear friend has highlighted this case to me. In Tunbridge Wells, where I live , it is frowned upon to just obliterate trees from public places. Especially Limes that are ancient in many cases.I urge Lancaster council to proposed and agree to just pollard these limes. That means to cut them back to the last place they were lopped. This will increase their health and beauty and keep them for generations to come. Once you cut these down, you will never see the like again in the square. Please be cautious with public property. Once pollarded, get a preservation order on them.
John Swanton

Mick Dunn said...

This sounds like a good reason to create a 38 degrees campaign. If the councilors oppossed to this, any of the above who have commented or indeed simply anyone would like to contact me at 38deglancaster@gmail.com we can get the ball rolling.

John Freeman said...

Good idea, Mick. One of my local councillors, Janet Hall, has already responded to my email telling me they've only just heard about the proposal yesterday and will get back to me. It's good to see a councillor embracing the electronic age, as has Jon Barry. Letters to some councillors or a physical postcard campaign might also be a good idea...

Cherry Canovan said...

Where can we see the actual report?

Jon Barry said...

In reference to the BID comment. The report that I saw (as of two days ago) DOES NOT say that the trees will be replaced. It says that 7b trees will be replanted at some unspecified place in the district. There is some vague notion of planters possibly being used (which will get in the way and grow pathetic trees) but there is absolutely no commitment to re-plant trees in Market Square.