PICTURES: Christmas comes early to Sheffield street as residents stage unique protest at loss of festive tradition

Carol singing in Abbeydale Park Rise.
Carol singing in Abbeydale Park Rise.

Christmas has come early to a Sheffield street - as residents have draped festive illuminations on a row of trees that are set to be axed.

Residents of Abbeydale Park Rise have been lighting up the many cherry trees that line their street every Christmas for three decades.

Trees on Abbeydale Park Rise.

Trees on Abbeydale Park Rise.

Hundreds of people from across the city gather for carol singing beneath the impressive illuminations, which get bigger and better each year.

But this festive tradition could be no more as 19 of the trees are on Sheffield Council’s list for felling, as part of its controversial Streets Ahead roads improvement programme with private contractor Amey.

Despite being the month of June, members of the public decided to decorate their trees in bright Christmas lights to show their dismay at the tree felling, which residents say is earmarked to take place later this week.

Louise Jackman, who has decorated the tree outside her home, described the street as being "famous for its trees full of Christmas lights which has been going on for 30 years and people have come from far and wide to see them.
"Well this week we could be losing 19 trees on our street and one of them is mine. I don't want to lose it because I love that tree for its blossom in the spring and cherries in the summer and lights at Christmas."

Illuminations on Abbeydale Park Rise.

Illuminations on Abbeydale Park Rise.

She added: "Please if you live on Abbeydale Park Rise please put your lights on. Please keep spreading the word. We don't want to lose 19 trees on Abbeydale Park Rise. Six of them are together, how empty it will look."

As part of the 25-year £2 billion Streets Ahead contract with Amey about 10, 000 trees will be replaced that are deemed "diseased, damaging or dangerous." The move has sparked complaints from conservationists that a number of trees are "healthy" and should remain.
But the council has stressed that thousands of new trees will be planted and the whole scheme will lead to much-needed improvements in the city's road surfaces.

Christmas lights in Abbeydale Park Rise.

Christmas lights in Abbeydale Park Rise.