RESIDENTS have expressed concern over the felling of dozens of trees surrounding a Darlington footpath.

The trees in Honeypot Lane, which are on a footpath connecting Waylands Terrance and Bellburn Lane, were removed by tree surgeons at the request of a nearby resident, who had been granted permission from Darlington Borough Council.

Residents have claimed they were not previously informed of the plan to fell the trees, and were only made aware of it when the footpath was closed off by the council so they could be removed.

The decision was met by a backlash on social media, with many residents expressing upset over the destruction of the trees, and the impact on local wildlife.

One user said a natural corridor for wildlife had been “ruined” while another described it as “disgusting.”

Local resident Eric Wilson said: “These were healthy, beautiful trees which have been completely demolished after 60 or 70 years of growing there, seemingly for no purpose.

“We have never been told by the council why they were felled.

“My main concern is how this will escalate. If one or two residents are allowed to chop down trees because it suits them, will other people start to follow suit. What will be left of the area then?”

Mr Wilson said that due to the backlash, promises have been made to replant new shrubbery and trees back into the area surrounding the footpath.

“I’ve lived in this area for 30 years, and I know there is plenty of wildlife living in those trees. Bats fly around them regularly and there are certainly birds nesting there.”

He added: “We all should have been informed in this decision as residents, because it impacts everybody living here.”

Cllr Andy Keir, cabinet member for local services, said: “The trees in question at the rear of Ivywood Court are not protected by Tree Preservation Orders nor are they protected by virtue of being in a Conservation Area.

“A resident did submit a tree enquiry application to the council in May 2020 and was advised that planning permission was not required to carry out these works, but should have the land owners permission (the council is not the landowner).

“The residents applied for an order to close the path to undertake the works and this was processed to allow the path to be closed.

“With regards to nesting season. All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which their nests (whilst in use or being built) as well as any eggs the nest may contain.If it suspected an offence has been committed in relation to wild birds, it is a police matter and should be investigated by a wildlife crime officer.”