A senior councillor has suggested there are no immediate plans to fell any more trees around the site earmarked for Huddersfield’s Cultural Heart.

Campaigners who had previously hung yellow ribbons from the trees outside the former Queensgate Market and around the corner in Queen Street were dismayed when Kirklees Council went in to remove some.

The council chopped down the trees in Queensgate which block views of the renowned ceramic panels on the side of the former market building, known as ‘Articulation in Movement’ by sculptor Fritz Steller.

Campaigners were anxious to know whether the remaining trees in Queen Street were also due to be felled.

Lindley Tory councillor Adam Gregg put the question to Cabinet member for regeneration Clr Graham Turner at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

Clr Turner replied: “Those trees that were removed were part of the granted planning permission. It was always well known that those trees would be removed.

“We went down last Monday in broad daylight. We didn’t do it like some councils at the dead of night or in secret. We went in full view of the public and took the trees down.

“The trees were very low grade quality trees and in the not-too-distant future they would probably have needed to come down anyway,” he said. “It’s opened up the vista so those beautiful ceramics are now visible for people.”

Clr Adam Gregg (left) and Clr Graham Turner

Under the Cultural Heart plans, the Piazza shopping centre will be demolished and earlier proposals were for a stand-alone art gallery to be built at the end of Queen Street.

However, that idea was scrapped to save money last year and the art gallery and a new museum will instead share the former Huddersfield Library building.

The council has yet to decide what will be built on the Queen Street plot. It was first suggested that Greenhead College would build a science, technology, engineering and mathematics centre but funding is understood to be a problem. Other suggestions have included a hotel or apartments.

When pressed on the trees in Queen Street, Clr Turner told the Cabinet meeting: “Queen Street is not yet decided. We have yet to decide what to do with that part of the site and there will be further planning applications in the future.”

Clr Turner stressed that once the Cultural Heart was completed there would be a “significant net increase of trees” and they won’t be saplings, they would be mature trees.

“It’s a positive for Kirklees,” he said. “Economic growth for Kirklees and more green spaces, a win-win.”

Clr Gregg, still concerned about the Queen Street trees, asked: “Am I right in thinking that if there are trees to be removed would there have to be planning permission?”

Clr Turner replied: “I will have to check the planning permission. I can double check and get back to you. Win, win. More trees.”