Burnley residents win battle to save trees

Coun. Darren Reynolds on the Queen's Road site where trees have been felled. G240112/3
Coun. Darren Reynolds on the Queen's Road site where trees have been felled. G240112/3

NEIGHBOURS of a former Burnley allotment have won their battle to save 30-year-old trees from the axe.

Chainsaw-wielding contractors for Lancashire County Council hopped down a number of “healthy” trees on the on the Queen’s Road plot in January.

Residents branded the works “vandalism”, and feared the remaining trees would be felled on the site which is up for sale for a potential housing development.

But pressure from neighbours and local councillors led Burnley Council to protect the trees on the county council-owned land.

The trees cannot now be harmed without permission from Burnley Council.

Tony Kalus, who lives on neighbouring Ebor Street: “This is great news. We’ve lived here for 30 years and in all that time we’ve had lovely views of the trees from our front windows.

“A few weeks ago, county council contractors turned up and started hacking mature trees to pieces. We were mortified. I rang Darren Reynolds, our local councillor, and asked him to help us.” Lib Dem volunteer Martyn Hurt, who helped secure the victory, said: “Councils are not known for listening to residents, but I think Burnley Council has changed over the last five or six years. Now it listens and acts.

“It’s not the first time it has put up a battle against other authorities on behalf of residents, but it is the first time it’s been done over trees.

“With the law on their side, residents have won.”

Coun Reynolds added: “The county council could learn a lot from Burnley Council. Since my political colleagues took over running Burnley Council, we’ve tried to change the way it works so it listens to people and responds. It hasn’t been easy changing the habits of more than 40 years.

“The Preston-based County Council needs to change too. I think the best approach would be to abolish it and have home rule for Burnley.”