ANCIENT trees that were saved from the chop just seven weeks ago have been cut down.
Villagers stepped in to save a pair of 400-year-old chestnut trees in Denby Dale from the axe in late January amid rumours they were to be felled by utility firm CEElectric.
But now they have been “pruned” – leaving only stumps in the ground.
Resident John Jordan became concerned about the future of the trees on Norman Road after he saw signs warning of a road closure.
After a week of investigation with Kirklees Council he discovered the two trees were subject to a tree preservation order (TPO) and the work was called off.
At the time CE Electric denied it planned to do any work in the area.
But less than two months on, the trees have now been cut back to mere stumps.
Villager Susan Shaw said people in the village were angry as they had been told that CE Electric was only going to prune them.
She said: “When I first saw it I thought oh my God, they’ve cut them down. They said they were just going to prune them but when we went back there’s only a stump left.
“I thought they were just going to take a few branches off. It looks shocking, when they were there the trees were massive and now it’s just a trunk.
“I've rung CE Electric and they said they intended to do it. Apparently it’s called pollarding and the trees will grow back.
“But it won’t be in my lifetime, we will never see these trees again, they might as well have killed them.
“It really is over the top. Kirklees really should be supervising this, I don’t know if they used proper tree surgeons or if it was just a couple of blokes with a chain saw.
“It’s ruined the look of the street and a lot of people are complaining.”
A spokeswoman for CE Electric said they had wanted to fell the trees, which are on their land, but had come to a compromise following discussions with Kirklees Council.
The spokeswoman admitted the work had caused the trees to be an eyesore but denied there was any TPO on them.
She said: “We received complaints that the trees were dropping branches into people’s gardens.
“We did a survey and it was discovered there was so much decay it would be necessary to remove the crown of the trees.
“We would never chop a tree down unnecessarily, it was done because of concerns over the safety of the trees.
“We wanted to cut them down but working with Kirklees Council it was agreed that we would pollard them. They’re in an operational area so we have a duty of care to stop them from falling on power lines.
“We apologise and if residents want us to remove the trees completely we can and are happy to replant new trees somewhere of their choosing”.