Lime trees in Lancaster Market Square face axe

by | Jan 12, 2016 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

The removal of the seven Lime Trees is likely to be approved when Lancaster council’s Cabinet meets on Tuesday the 19th of January.

Seven new trees will be planted on an appropriate piece of Council land, and replacement trees in planters will also be considered for the Square itself.

It was revealed early last month that the move was being considered, due to aphids on the trees that secrete ‘honeydew’ on to the walking surface below, causing it to become slippery for pedestrians in wet weather.

The council says the trees are also affecting businesses and visitors due to their size, blocking light and obscuring buildings.

Speaking in December, Mark Davies, Lancaster City Council’s chief officer for the environment, explained: “The council places great value on the trees within our urban areas and the many benefits that they bring but those in Market Square are affecting businesses and visitors due to their sheer size, blocking light and obscuring buildings.

“A particular issue is that the lime trees are a haven for aphids that secrete ‘honeydew’, a sugar rich sticky liquid, on to the new surfacing below, causing it to become slippery in wet weather, and making it very difficult to clean.”

But the proposal wasn’t welcomed by Marsh ward councillor for the Green Party – and current mayor of Lancaster, Jon Barry, who said: “Removal of the trees would make the centre of town a sterile and uninviting place. 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.”

But Mr Davies added: “Pruning is not the answer as the new growth would attract even more aphids and make the problem even worse. It is also very expensive as it would have to be done very regularly.

“To ensure the number of trees in the district does not fall and the environmental benefits they bring are not lost, the proposal would be to plant seven replacement trees on a suitable piece of land, and also to assess if some trees in planters should be placed in Market Square in the future.”

A Lancaster Business Improvement District spokesperson added: “Lancaster City Council have approached 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.”