THE council is looking to alleviate community concerns over the fate of trees in Carlisle's city centre marked with orange dots. 

Worries had been raised that a large number of trees in the city bearing the paint was an indication that they would be cut down. However, Cumberland Council has clarified that only four trees are destined for removal, with the others "unintentionally marked with spray paint during the survey works". 

Two of the trees are being removed due to being affected by the fungus ash dieback, whilst the other two will be removed - prior to bird nesting season - to help pave the way for the upcoming Greenmarket and Market Square project. 

News and Star: Concerns arose after orange dots were spotted on trees around the city centreConcerns arose after orange dots were spotted on trees around the city centre (Image: Gavin Hawkton)

The council's ambition is to transform the area into more of a community area by creating space for a 'multifunctional events space hub'. 

To do so, the project will receive a substantial investment of £4 million from the Future High Street Fund. 

It won't just be the trees moved however, the council has reached an agreement to relocate the war memorial. 

A Cumberland Council spokesperson said: “Regrettably, all trees in the vicinity were unintentionally marked with spray paint during the survey works.

“While four trees, including two affected by ash dieback for safety reasons and two for construction requirements, need removed, we are committed to replanting new trees and shrubs to maintain the greenery in the city centre.

“We will be conducting a comprehensive review of all trees in the city centre due to ash dieback, prioritising safety. Appropriate action will be taken for individual trees as deemed necessary.

“We apologise for any confusion caused by the orange dots on the trees and appreciate the community's understanding," they said. 

Carlisle's Green Party Parliamentary Candidate, Gavin Hawkton said that the council's communication about the matter has been "less than transparent".

“The revelation that four trees are set for removal, despite marking so many more raises questions," he said.

"Why were so many trees marked in the first place? Was this a mistake or perhaps a council scaling back plans once they knew the strength of feeling on this issue?

“It’s a strange doublespeak to talk about the importance of urban green spaces and then to begin the first act of town centre development by removing healthy trees.

"Our urban trees play an important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, reducing air pollution, providing shade during the summer, and serving as a habitat for birds.

“Councils often need pushing to make sure they do the right thing when it comes to looking after our local environment and that is what the Green Party and I will continue to do."

An online petition, on behalf of Gavin Hawkton, calling for the protection of the city centre trees going forward has so far garnered over 100 signatures (February, 7).