RESIDENTS are appealing to save a landmark avenue of lime trees which have lined the entrance to their village for 180 years.

The campaign was launched after the parish council for Snape, near Bedale, applied to Hambleton District Council to cut down six of the trees and carry out work on 49 others.

The parish council could not be contacted, but a meeting in January heard experts feared a second avenue of trees planted through public subscription 25 years ago was being stunted by the mature trees.

There were also health and safety concerns over some of the trees with dangerous branches and a survey carried out by the parish council in the village had found a majority backing felling some of the trees.

After learning of the application, residents, who cherish the green gateway to the village, paid for a survey of the trees by arboriculturalists Barnes Associates, which concluded while work needed to be carried out, there was no reason for any of the mature trees to be felled, not even those most damaged by previous drastic pruning.

Resident David Kirby said he feared up to 50 trees could eventually be felled, and is pressing the district council - which has to approve the work due to Tree Preservation Orders on the trees - to consider the Barnes report. He said concerns remained the planning authority would treat the study as a private report, despite money being raised by villagers to pay for it.

Dr Kirby said: “The council should also take into account the appeal of the avenue to seasonal visitors, as well as to walkers and cyclists throughout the year, who collectively contribute to the village economy.

“Perhaps Hambleton should maintain and if necessary restore the tree preservation orders on all the trees, refrain from compromising the Barnes report and urge Snape Parish Council to adopt his advice; otherwise this 180-year-old lime avenue is going to be irreversibly mutilated and ultimately destroyed,” he added.

In other objections to the district council, resident Michael Brown said the work was unnecessary and “would totally ruin one of the most loved and admired vistas in all Yorkshire”, while Claire and Stephen Brownless described the trees as “one of the most loved landmarks in our area”.