Artists using their creative insight have banded together in an effort to persuade developers to reconsider chopping down 81 trees in a town square.

Reading Between the Limes, an exhibition showcasing the work of 17 artists, drew more than 700 visitors to Winns Gallery in Walthamstow’s Lloyd Park from October 25 to 28.

Curated by Linda Green, its aim was to highlight the benefits of the dozens of trees in Walthamstow Town Square and Gardens which will be felled as part of a controversial redevelopment.

“It’s just madness. There’s no structure to it,” said Mrs Green of Walthamstow.

“It makes me feel angry and puzzled and I think ‘what is wrong with these people, don’t they get it?’

Hundreds of people have signed both online and hard copy petitions calling on the Waltham Forest Council and developers Capital and Regional to reconsider their decision.

A total of 81 trees in the square will be removed including 41 lime trees which line an avenue connecting the high street and Selborne Road.

Ms Green said she was surprised to learn that many visitors to the exhibition, including those living in the area, had no idea about the trees being felled.

One visitor commented: “It says a lot when local artists care more about the tress that the council which is expected to have put interests and that of the local environment at heart.”

Another added: “I hope the councillors and developers come to see this and re-think their decision. If not, let’s bombard them with art.

“The council obviously does not know what makes the Stow attractive to live in – low rise housing and green spaces.”

Mrs Green believes many people left the event feeling “moved” by the photography, paintings, sculpture and print pieces.

She said: “Most people didn’t know and were alarmed about it so I think there’s a need to get the word out. It’s vandalism.”

Cllr Simon Miller, Waltham Forest Council cabinet member for economic growth and high streets, said the council is “incredibly proud” of planting 1,600 trees across the borough last year.

He said the council has a “duty to protect our environment and at the same time to provide jobs for our residents”.

The redevelopment which will include four tower blocks of apartments as well as retail units is expected to create hundreds of jobs. It will also see improved access introduced at Walthamstow Central station.

Cllr Miller said: “The current town square is not fit for purpose.

“It is outdated, badly designed, and a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

“The Mall redevelopment will make better use of the location, and will create a new children’s playground alongside a new area for residents to host their own events in this improved community space.

“The overall number of trees in the town square will actually increase when the development is complete, and we are additionally committed to planting five trees across the borough for each removed during the development.”

A spokesman for Capital and Regional said 94 new trees will be planted in the square while 54 existing ones will be retained.

He said: “Following approval from the London Borough of Waltham Forest and the Greater London Authority for the redevelopment of The Mall, our plans to deliver an exciting new offering for Walthamstow remain unchanged.

“The approved plans deliver an increase in the total number of trees in the town square and a space for the community to enjoy, including opportunities for exciting new formal and informal play facilities, events space, and improved lighting and safety features."