DEEP rooted objections to changes to plans for a £2.57m town centre upgrade have emerged after councillors were told trees were being ditched for planters.

Angry Northallerton town councillors have called for a rethink over the scheme for the main square after they were told changes have been made amid fears trees could cause problems for the annual May fair.

The Showmen's Guild said they had requested that the trees be put into planters.

Hambleton District Council is overseeing and funding the scheme along with the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

But Northallerton town councillors were told at an online meeting trees had been replaced by planters in the scheme after concerns by the Showmen's Guild that they would interfere with rides normally placed along the High Street at the May Fair.

Councillor Paul Cornfoot protested: "I don't think planters are the right thing at all. You are compromising what is a really nice space for what is three or four days of the year. This is an opportunity to do something that we are not going to get again for many years, it's an opportunity that is going to be missed.

"I am sure there would be a chance to move things around for the Showmen's Guild. This has been through a consultation process, and suddenly there has been a change."

Deputy Mayor Councillor Phil Eames added: "The whole premise was to make Northallerton a much more attractive town and capitalise on the fact that the town is so wide and open and having trees was one of the main things. It seems that Hambleton district council is putting the interests of the showmen's guild ahead of the interests of the people of the town."

Councillor John Prest countered: "Trees properly planted would be better but that fair has been coming to the town for ever and a day. I think if we write to the Showman's Guild and say we appreciate Mr Crow has had this space for a long time but can it be looked at again."

Members are objecting to the changes and district councillor Isobel Sanderson said she would make further enquiries with the authority.

A spokesman for the Showmen's Guild said they had not objected to the trees but had requested that they be put into planters. "This was to help out members in Northallerton, who are residents and council taxpayers in the town and this would have had a detrimental effect on their business," he added.