A BLUEPRINT to reinvigorate a historic market square after the controversial felling of mature trees has been unveiled.

The proposal for Thirsk Market Place features a community arts space for use by local groups, a modern wishing well, three trees for shade, plants, a horseshoe-shaped array of benches and numerous floral displays.

Hambleton District Council removed five birch trees without notice in April before stating they were posing a threat to health and safety.

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The move sparked an unprecedented outcry in the town, with residents and traders questioning the number of complaints that had been made about bird droppings, which the council claimed were making the area treacherous.

The authority said it the trees, which were planted in 1981, had outgrown the area beside the clock tower and that management of them had reached "the end of the line".

Councillor Gareth Dadd, who formed a steering group including local firms, Thirsk in Bloom, the Woodlands Group, the tourist information centre and the district council's chief engineer, said he had been delighted with a local charity's offer to build and maintain a wishing well, the proceeds of which would be distributed to good causes.

He added the town council would be consulted over the blueprint and that copies of the proposal would be available at the town's library, town hall and Sowerby Parish Council offices and sent to every house in Thirsk and nearby villages.

He said: "I believe this catches the general mood of what residents and businesses have been calling for in terms of suitable trees, shade, colour and a clean, tidy community space.

"I do urge all members of the local community to respond, and hopefully we can now take this issue forward positively.

"I thank all those that have contacted me prior to this stage with their thoughts, I hope this reflects those contributions."

Views on the blueprint should be sent to Cllr Dadd by emailing garethdadd@hotmail.com or by post to The Old Black Bull, Thormanby, Thirsk, YO61 4NN, by August 25.

The plan will then be presented to the district council, which is expected to decide upon the final scheme in September.