THE removal of two protected trees close to a St Annes school has sparked anger.
Janine King, a resident of Vicarage Close, St Annes, and Fylde Coun Sue Fazackerley, attacked the felling of the trees, one of which has been near Heyhouses Church of England Infant School, St Annes Road East, for decades.
Earlier in the year, the school was asked to increase its intake of schoolchildren by Lancashire County Council, resulting in a large temporary building being placed in the middle of the school playground to accommodate extra children.
However, as part of the cabin’s installation, the trees, both subject to a conservation order, have been removed without permission on neighbouring Vicarage Close.
Mrs King, who also criticised the installation of the temporary building, said: “Imagine my horror when I arrived home one day and after speaking to neighbours found out that a cabin was intended for the middle of the already-tiny playground.
“Then on Friday I received a call from a neighbour saying the trees in the close were being chopped down.
“I contacted Coun Fazackerley to look into this as I was assured that the trees are in a conservation area and planning permission would be required – something the county council confirmed to me in an email.
“Coun Fazackerly confirmed no planning permission has been sought, yet on Friday they were chopped down.
“It’s an absolute disgrace.”
Coun Fazackerley said: “I am extremely cross about what has happened.
“The trees were subject to a tree preservation order. In no circumstances were they to be touched.
“I have assured Janine King I will get to the bottom of this.”
Andy Ashcroft, highways manager at Lancashire County Council, said the safety of the children at Heyhouses was very important.
He added: “The older tree was self-seeded and was damaging a wall and the playground of the school.
“It was removed with the permission of the tree officer at Fylde Borough Council, as it was a safety hazard to the children in the playground.
“Of course no one likes to see a tree cut down, but when there is any danger to children we have to put their safety first.”