The Lancashire Evening Post, Tuesday, 20th October 2009
Square's trees face the axe in revamp Jenny Simpson
One seventh of the trees in Winckley Square are set to be felled for "design reasons" as part of a 3m revamp. Healthy trees will be chopped down to increase light, alter footpaths and access, and improve surveillance of the historic square.

A planning application has now been lodged for the tree works element of the revamp which includes felling 22 of the 127 trees 17 of them healthy and pruning others.

A new report by independent tree experts says mature trees need to be managed better to stop them becoming a hazard.

But St Wilfrid's Church parish priest Fr Chris Dyckhoff, who is monitoring the plans for the square trustees, branded the tree-cutting "major destruction" and said trustees had not been consulted.

He said: "It will destroy the green character of the gardens for the future. Our green oasis in the heart of Preston will be no more."

Tree felling in Winckley Square
Milly Tyson, of the Preston and South Ribble Civic Trust, said: "I understood there were protection orders on trees in conservation areas. I don't know how much right they have to take them away."

Six trees were previously felled in Winckley Square in February after they were branded dangerous because they were dead or decaying.

Other elements of the revamp plans include a granite staircase from the Winckley Street entrance and anti-skateboarding studs along all sloping pathways. CCTV cameras are likely to be included along north side of the square at a later date.

Kath Brogan, project manager, said: "We have now submitted a planning application for the work to improve Winckley Square and all aspects of this will be fully considered by the planning committee in the future."

Preston Council's planning committee is due to vote on the scheme later this year

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, October 2009