People have won a fight to save “majestic” poplar trees from being felled... for now.

Plans were announced in late November to axe the trees on both sides of the path in Blakes Walk, Lewes.

More than 1,300 people signed a petition which stated that cutting the trees down in January would “substantially alter the character of this very well-used and highly popular walking and cycling avenue”.

East Sussex County Council said the work was necessary because the poplars were “impacting on the Lime trees they were grown to protect and to the footway which is becoming hazardous due to the Poplar roots growing underneath it”.

The Argus: The row of trees in Lewes which were due to be cut downThe row of trees in Lewes which were due to be cut down (Image: Brian Johnson)

This decision has now been postponed but the council said it is working out a long-term strategy to maintain the trees in the future. This could still include felling some or all of the trees.

Fraser Addecott, from Lewes, who started the petition, said: "This beautiful avenue of trees is a much-loved and very well-used feature of the town. 

“To even consider removing these mature and thriving trees flies against everything we know about the multiple benefits they bring to residents, visitors, wildlife and our wider environment.

"The strength of feeling is clearly demonstrated in the response to the petition and the many heartfelt and knowledgeable comments posted on the site.  As one resident states, 'It is the new build which has encroached on the trees, not the other way round'."

The petition also stated that “the removal of these majestic trees will substantially alter the character of this very well-used and highly popular walking and cycling avenue between Malling and Lewes town centre”.

The Friends of Lewes Trees Committee said there was “no silvicultural, arboricultural or landscape reason for any trees to be removed”. 


Green Councillor Adrian Ross said: “We strongly welcome the postponement of these unnecessary and undesirable works.

“However, we will remain vigilant until the new management plan has been agreed, as felling some or all of the trees has not yet been categorically ruled out.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The planned removal of the poplar trees on Blakes Walk in Lewes forms part of the agreed Blakes Walk Management Plan and is intended to accommodate the original plan to make this a lime tree avenue.

“Following the recent annual inspection, it was felt that the removal of the poplar trees earlier than the agreed timeframe would be beneficial to protecting and managing the lime trees as originally intended.

“However, since receiving feedback from the South Downs National Park Authority, Lewes District Council, Lewes Town Council and Friends of Lewes that the poplar trees should not be removed, the planned removal work has been postponed until a new management plan for the avenue has been agreed.

“The council will work in consultation with all the interested parties to develop a long-term strategy to determine the best way to maintain the trees going forward.”