TREES growing at the bottom of Chester’s Walls are to be removed.
An application has been made by the Highways and Transportation Joint Committee at Cheshire West and Chester Council to fell 50 self-seeded sycamore trees.
The trees are located at the bottom of the Walls alongside the canal between Northgate Bridge and King Charles Tower on Northgate Street.
The committee claim they are blocking the ancient monument and hindering its inspection as access can only be gained by using a rope.
Richard Nickson, strategy manager for the council’s highways and transportation service, believes that the saplings could cause substantial damage if left at the base of the wall.
He said: “They could cause invasive action from the roots and abrasion of the wall surface by branches moving in the wind.”
Mr Nickson also thinks they are stopping a full risk assessment of the walls from being carried out.
He said: “This work is intended to enable us to avoid a further collapse of the wall – although given the ancient nature of it that can never be entirely ruled out.
“ However this vegetation clearance is also good basic maintenance – I am sure you would not leave a tree growing out of your house foundations, for example!”
The work is planned to be carried out between now and February at a quiet time for nesting birds in the area and will also tie in with some closures on the canal.
The council are now working together with English Heritage to carry out a close inspection of the Walls including an assessment of the walls circuit including its towers, steps and ramps.
As part of these plans a surveying system will also be installed to help monitor the walls in future and a ‘devegetation’ of the ivy and weeds growing on the walls .
A digital photographic survey will also be carried out to capture and record the condition of the walls to help with monitoring them in the future.
Separate funds have also been set aside to rebuild the collapsed section of the wall in the Grosvenor Mall area.
If the application is successful it will largely be paid for from a grant from English Heritage valued at £130,000 and any further work will be funded by the council budget.
Councillor Tom Parry believes this project is essential for the upkeep of the Walls.
He said: “I support the work as I believe that it is essential that we maintain them.
“It is highly unlikely that removing them will damage any habitats but I am sure this will have been taken into consideration.”
Councillor Neil Ritchie also supports the plans.
He said: “This work is very important and a long overdue investment in the preservation of this invaluable historic feature of Chester.”