The Aytoun Barks Back campaign, launched earlier this year to protect an impressive group of trees in Manchester city centre, has heard today that it has succeeded in its aim to safeguard them. A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) has been granted by the Council, after a determined campaign by local residents, supported by local councillors, urging the Council to preserve some of the few mature trees in the area. Nearly 500 people signed a petition to protect the trees, and the Council’s legal services department saw a large number of emails and letters of support for the TPO.
Local resident, Lynette Cawthra, said: ‘The Aytoun horseshoe of trees is a delightful bit of much-needed greenery in town, with important benefits too for local birdlife and of course for carbon capture. We’re thrilled that these trees now have protected status – huge thanks to everyone who helped lobby the Council to make this happen’.
The campaign does not stop here, however. The plot of land which the trees surround is a surface level car park and may well see development proposals in the future; campaigners are clear that the root systems of these tall trees are such that any proposed development could easily damage them. They state that they will continue to monitor plans for the space very closely. Many local residents have suggested that the site would make a superb ‘pocket park’ – already, since it has been closed to cars, people have been seen in the space playing cricket, teaching kids to ride bikes and doing Tai Chi.
Aytoun Barks Back was set up by local residents to lobby the City Council to save the 31 large London plane trees between Aytoun, Minshull, Major and Bloom Streets in the city centre. You can follow news of the continuing campaign to keep the trees safe at facebook.com/AytounBarksBack and Twitter @AytounBarksBack.
[Aytoun Trees folks have kindly agreed to do an interview, which will appear soon on the CEM website. We’ve told them they have as much as 12 hours to rest on their laurels and celebrate…]