Manchester

Tree protesters spend night in Alexandra Park

Protester in Alexandra Park
Image caption Protester Ian Brewer said the public had to stop what he called an "environmental crime"

Protesters opposed to the felling of trees in a Manchester park have spent the night there after breaching a security fence.

Up to 70 people got into Alexandra Park, Whalley Range, on Thursday.

Many pitched tents and some had begun building tree houses on the site on Friday morning.

The council intends to fell 280 trees as part of a £5.5m project to return the park to the way it is supposed to have looked in Victorian times.

But protesters claim the the actual number of trees to be cut down is more than 400.

The trees are being removed and replaced by raised flowerbeds as part of the regeneration of the park.

'No good reason'

The plans also include creating new tennis courts and football facilities, and improvements will be made to the lake.

Image caption Protesters spent the night in tents in the park

More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the felling of trees in the project, which received £2.2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Protester Ann Lewis said: "We can't just stand idle on the fence just letting them wantonly destroy this for no good reason and spending our money."

Ian Brewer added: "I think it is an environmental crime that is being committed here and it needs the public to prevent this from happening further.

"I have lived in Whalley Range for over 20 years now and this is my local park, so I am devastated to see it being abused in this way."

He said: "We want to try and maybe even prevent the work so hopefully the council will realise that it is a bad decision.

"An aerial platform is being put up so we will be able to stay in it in relative comfort.

"We plan to stay here as long as we can. Hopefully into the nesting season and then hopefully work will be cancelled for this year."

Senior Manchester City Council officer Eddie Flanagan said: "We are not about to be brow-beaten by what we still think represents a small amount of trees and they are making their point right at the last minute."

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