A TWO-YEAR battle to save the cherry trees on Oswestry’s Festival Square came to an end last week as two of the site’s features were removed.
Protestors had fought to protect the trees which were condemned by Shropshire Council planners because they were lifting surrounding iron grids and damaging surrounding paved areas, causing a tripping hazard. Although nine were included in the felling application, only two have so far been removed.
The plight of the trees, which had stood on the town centre site for several years and were used as part of the Christmas light features, was also picked up in a campaign circulated using social networking site Facebook and gained almost 100 supporters.
Jools Payne, who spearheaded the ‘Save the Red Square Trees’ campaign said: “Since the campaign to save the cherry trees was launched they have definitely declined, due in large part to the invasion of salt into the root system as a result of salt gritting during adverse weather. Clearly, it will be a huge shame if the council chooses to fell the more healthy trees.”
Shropshire Council plans to replace the cherry trees with a similar variety within the next financial year.
Town councillor Betty Gull, who chairs the Christmas Decorative Lighting Committee in Oswestry, said it would impact the annual lighting display, but added: “Unfortunately, these cherries had died and they had to be removed. It is shame but a young tree, even if it is reasonably large, will not be able to bear the weight of lights for a while, so we will have to be patient.”