A petition to save the trees in Lancaster’s Market Square has raised more than 1,700 signatures following a protest in the city at the weekend.
One resident even chained herself to one of the threatened trees during the Save The Lancaster Limes demostration on Saturday, January 16.
Zephyrine Barbarachild, pictured above, joined other protestors in the city and held a sign which declared “don’t pave paradise”.
Lancaster City Council’s cabinet member for regeneration Coun Janice Hanson defended the plans to chop down seven 40-year-old lime trees in the square.
Coun Hanson says that a particular issue with the trees is that they are a haven for aphids that feed on the tree’s sap.
They then secrete ‘honeydew’, a sugar rich sticky liquid, on to the new surfacing below, causing it to become slippery in wet weather.
But many residents, including the city’s Mayor Jon Barry, say that the new surface is slippery anyway, and this was not a justification for chopping down the trees.
The council say that this is not the only issue, and that the trees also block out light from the square and obscure buildings.
But a campaign video asking members of the public for their views painted a different picture, with an overwhelming majority saying they didn’t want the council to chop down the trees.
Petition organiser and Lancaster resident Cherry Canovan said 1,739 signatures had been collected over the weekend, and the petition was taken to Lancaster Town Hall on Monday, January 18.
It is understood that a decision on whether to axe the trees at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, January 19, will be made at a full council meeting instead.
Cherry Canovan said: “The fact that we amassed so many paper signatures in such a short space of time demonstrates the strength of feeling among Lancaster residents on this issue.
“People of all ages and from all walks of life were keen to sign the petition.
“I and the other campaigners now hope that our local councillors will listen to the electorate and save the Market Square limes.”