PUB customers are urged to support a petition to keep illuminated trees at The Windmill Inn at Tabley.

The petition has been started by Jason Melville and Kim Chesworth in response to objections to a planning application to retain existing trees and to install five new ones.

Jason and Kim run the Chester Road pub, which has 12 nine-foot artificial trees lit with white lights and a 20-foot tree lit with blue lights.

They were installed in November in a bid to increase trade, but have sparked opposition.

In a letter to Cheshire East Council, Tabley Parish clerk Sarah Sherwood said the parish council strongly objected to the proposal.

“The trees can be seen from some distance, and are very distracting for drivers on what is an extremely busy stretch of the A556, and it is considered they cause significant light pollution in the area,” she said.

“The parish council believes these trees are out of character for a semi-rural area.”

The council considered minimal lighting would be acceptable over Christmas, she added, but not during the rest of the year.

Michael Bailey, from Holly Tree Farm, Chester Road, said he lived within 200 metres of the pub, and the lighting was intrusive and out of character with the area.

“This is a country public house and not Blackpool Illuminations,” he said in his objection letter, claiming the lights overshadowed street lighting and were distracting for drivers.

Jason said the lights did not represent a safety danger, and were no more distracting than a sign at the side of the road.

He added that there were traffic lights outside the pub, which had car park lighting and floodlights and there was a 24-hour petrol station opposite.

He said he was seeking planning approval after being advised by planning officers that he needed permission for the existing trees.

“We have had positive reaction to the trees, with people having their picture taken with them and saying they look fantastic,” said Jason.

“If they do not pass it I will appeal, as there is no way a minority should affect something that helps maintains a business that pays 20 staff.

“I am not spending thousands of pounds to enhance a place and create work for a handful of people to stop it happening.

“We need something to attract more business in the general area, and if people think the objections are ridiculous please come in to the pub and sign to keep the trees.”