Angry residents interrupt felling of much-loved cherry tree on “only green space left in Altrincham town centre”

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Residents of an Altrincham street have succeeded in stopping the removal of a much-loved cherry tree – while it was in the process of being felled.

Mary Peers, 88, alerted fellow residents of New Street at around midday yesterday that a tree removal company had arrived to fell the one remaining tree on New Street Green – a cherry tree thought to be over 60 years old.

Two other residents of the street, Mary Hughes and Susan Redford, then confronted the company’s employees as they were sawing branches from the tree.

Redford said: “I ran out like an absolute raging ball of fury and they stopped immediately. I then got on to Trafford Housing Trust and warned them that there was going to be serious public unrest unless they sent someone down.”

Local councillor Dan Jerrome (right) with New Street residents by the cherry tree

Three representatives of Trafford Housing Trust – which manages the neighbouring Albert, Chapel and Lloyds Courts development – duly arrived on the scene and agreed to halt the felling of the tree – but “only for the time being”, according to Redford.

Redford said the apparent justification for the tree’s removal was that it was obstructing the removal of portacabins connected to the ongoing redevelopment of the former Regent Road car park site, a project managed by developer Citybranch.

But Redford said that New Street Green falls within the Downs Conservation Area and is used by both local residents and people walking back from the town. The gardens are tended mainly by Mary Hughes, with a bench funded by New Street residents.

It’s not clear who actually gave permission for the tree’s felling. Assuming the tree is within a conservation area, an application would under normal circumstances have to be made to the council and approved before any work could begin.

The part-removal has left the tree about two-thirds of its original size

Redford said the previously “perfectly healthy” tree is now two-thirds the size it was, with the tree removal firm having returned to the site today to carry out some remedial work on the parts of the tree damaged during yesterday’s aborted felling.

She said the street were prepared for a battle to keep the tree.

“We want it registered as a green space because it’s the only green space left in the whole of Altrincham town centre,” Redford added. “We are going to fight for this, we really are.

“In this week of COP26, someone in Trafford gives permission to fell this tree that has given, and still does, joy, shade and comfort to so many.”

Dan Jerrome, Green Party councillor for Altrincham, thanked residents for their “quick actions”.

He added: “It’s bewildering that something like this could happen without residents being informed or asked. This tree is treasured by local people for the pleasure it brings. Hopefully its future can be resolved.”

We have approached Trafford Housing Trust and Trafford Council for a comment.

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