Tel Aviv councilor Reuben Ladianski has turned to the city's engineering department to try to protect the old ficus trees in the Assuta compound from being chopped down during the planned renovations to the area, reports www.mynet.co.il. Ladianski said that in studying the approved plans for the area, he had not seen any mention of the trees, which are supposed to be a protected species, and that they should be preserved as public property. According to the report, the Municipal Planning and Construction Sub-Committee recently approved altered plans for the Assuta area, allowing an extra 6.5 stories to be built on the eastern side of the compound and a 20-story building - rather than the originally planned 40-story building - to be constructed in the south-western corner. In addition, the sub-committee decided to cancel the preservation of the former internal medicine wing in the center of the compound. The report said Ladianski wrote to the municipal engineering department to ask it to instruct the builder to preserve the trees. No response to the request was reported.