Felling all the trees in Saltaire’s Victoria Road and leaving it bare as Sir Titus Salt intended was one of three suggestions unveiled to the public over the weekend.
Meetings in Victoria Hall and the Methodist Church at the World Heritage site were attended by some 150 residents, who gave mixed responses to the options on how a £700,000 facelift should proceed.
Bradford Council has earmarked the cash to upgrade the avenue which leads to Salts Mill, primarily to repair dangerously uneven pavements, but also to make the area more attractive to tourists. The options offered are:
* Remove all trees on Victoria Road, repair and restore pavements using the highest quality materials
*Remove trees and replace with smaller species including exotics wherever possible and repair pavements
* Or continue to manage existing trees and repair pavements Maureen Wood, 71, who lives at the top end of the road, which is dominated by large horsechestnuts and beeches, said she hoped they would all be swiftly removed. She said: “We have our lights on more in summer than winter because they make it so dark. It’s miserable and it costs a fortune. And tree roots have made the pavements deadly to walk on, they’re so uneven and then get slippy with wet leaves.”
Neighbour Olwen Jonathan, 38, agreed: “They are causing a lot of damage to the houses themselves. Would people prefer the trees or the historic houses?”
Cynthia Simpson, 72, has lived in the road for 22 years and said she also wanted the big, overhanging trees to go.
She said: “We’re not against trees, but the sap and conkers and everything means you are forever sweeping up.
“If they were small trees, it might be different.”
Husband and wife Anne and Roger Heald live at the Mill end of Victoria Road above the premises they ran as a gift shop and tourist centre until 2007 and said they enjoyed looking out at the lush green summer canopy.
Mr Heald said: “We do like the trees with all the birds and wildlife and watching them change through the seasons.
“It brings a flavour of the countryside into an industrial and residential area, although we know they have damaged the pavements further up.”
World Heritage Site officer Helen Thornton said the trees had only been planted in the 1950s and were not part of the original design of Saltaire.
She said: “Some want to end the darkness the trees cause in the houses, others love the ambience they bring to the area. These have been very positive meetings and we want to hear everyone’s views before decisions are taken,” she said.
Details and pictures of the scheme are on Bradford Council’s website at www.bradford.gov.uk/victoriaroadsaltaire