Keeping the lights on in Dore

Calls have been made to protect trees which help form a popular Christmas attraction in Dore - after a Sheffield elm threatened with felling came second in a national competition.

Residents on Abbeydale Park Rise in Dore have been lighting up the cherry trees that line their street for more than two decades.

But fears have been raised that this year may be the last for the illuminations, as 19 of the trees are on Sheffield Council’s list for felling, as part of the Streets Ahead scheme with Amey.

The worries come after the Huntingdon elm on the corner of Chelsea Road in Nether Edge was declared the runner-up in the Woodland Trust’s English Tree of the Year contest.

The elm is thought to be about 120 years old, and campaigners are also fighting to save it from being felled. The rare white letter hairstreak butterfly has been spotted in the tree this year.

Campaigners will receive £500 from the Woodland Trust, which can be used to arrange a health check from an arboriculturalist, provide interpretation or educational materials or hold a celebratory event in honour of the tree.

On Abbeydale Park Rise, around 25 cherry trees have been lit by householders.

Brett Flower, aged 44, who lives on the street, has been decorating the tree outside his house since the early 1980s.

“It brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people. You notice the traffic pick up from December 1, especially over the weekends when you get streams of people coming to watch and parents parking up with their children and walking around.

“It’s a very pleasant place to be.”

The council says the bulk of the 19 trees are damaging the pavement or road. But the Independent Tree Panel – set up to scrutinise the case for each tree due to be felled – advised the council that only one of the remaining 13 trees was causing ‘significant disruption’ to the pavement, and should be removed. The rest, it said, could be retained.

This week the council pledged to restore a plaque at Westways Primary School in Crookes, identifying a street of trees on Western Road outside as war memorials, while South Yorkshire Police’s chief constable Stephen Watson warned that officers would continue to arrest Sheffield tree protesters if they attempt to illegally prevent their removal.