Council orders Christmas decorations to be removed as part of unique protest in Sheffield street

The Christmas lights in Abbeydale Park Rise.
The Christmas lights in Abbeydale Park Rise.
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Residents who draped trees in Christmas lights in a last-ditch attempt to save them from the chop have been ordered to remove them by the council.

Residents of Abbeydale Park Rise in Sheffield have been lighting up the many cherry trees that line their street every Christmas for three decades - drawing crowds of hundreds of people for carol singing.

Carol singers in Abbeydale.

Carol singers in Abbeydale.

But the festive tradition could be no more as 19 of the trees are on Sheffield Council’s list for felling, as part of its controversial Streets Ahead roads improvement programme with private contractor Amey.

Despite being the month of June, members of the public decided to decorate their trees in bright festive lights to show their dismay at the tree felling, which residents say is earmarked to take place later this week.

But the authority has now written to residents asking them to remove the lights so the work can begin.

A Streets Ahead spokesperson said: “We understand that some residents feel strongly about this specific avenue of trees, and following advice from the Independent Tree Panel, we will engage with residents ahead of the planting of replacement trees on this road.

“We have written to residents asking them to remove any lights from the trees ahead of felling work.

"The removal of the lights will ensure the trees can be removed safely, avoiding damage to the lights and preventing any safety risks to the operatives during tree works."

19 of the 50 trees on the road are set to be replaced as six have been found to be diseased and thirteen are damaging the surrounding pavement or road. Streets Ahead said one tree earmarked for replacement on the road is causing severe damage to the pavement resulting in the surrounding pathway having to be closed to pedestrians.

Louise Jackman, who has decorated the tree outside her home, described the street as being "famous for its trees full of Christmas lights which has been going on for 30 years and people have come from far and wide to see them."

She added that she does not want to see the trees felled because they "blossom in the spring, grow cherries in the summer and lights at Christmas."

Despite the council warning, she continued to urge residents to decorate the trees.

As part of the 25-year £2 billion Streets Ahead contract with Amey about 10, 000 trees will be replaced that are deemed "diseased, damaging or dangerous." The move has sparked complaints from conservationists that a number of trees are "healthy" and should remain.

But the council has stressed that thousands of new trees will be planted and the whole scheme will lead to much-needed improvements in the city's road surfaces.