An ASHLEY Heath resident has criticised the felling of 50-year-old trees as “appalling”, while a property developer defends its actions.

The mature oak and Scots pines were cut down in the garden of 22 Bushmead Drive in June, a property owned and currently being developed by Balson Homes.

Richard Jeffries lives adjacent to the property and told the Daily Echo: “There had been a planning application for the residential development which caused me to enquire with the Dorset tree protection team as to the status of the trees at 22 Bushmead.

“The local tree protection officer visited to examine the trees and resolved to raise a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on them immediately. The very next day, we were shocked to see a huge gang of tree surgeons cutting all the 50-year-old trees down.

“I contacted the tree preservation officer, and he attended the site but could do nothing to stop the destruction as the TPO had not been completed. We were both very upset.”

He added: “The felling was performed on trees which supported a whole host of wildlife during the bird nesting season. The skyline of Ashley Heath has been altered forever. We are all very upset by the needless destruction of these beautiful trees - they belong to all of us and we must do everything we can to protect them for wildlife and future generations.”

Two oak trees and eight Scots pine were felled.

Bournemouth Echo: 22 Bushmead garden before and after the tree felling22 Bushmead garden before and after the tree felling

Balson Homes, a property developer based in Wimborne, own the property and defended the decision. Founder Daniel Balson told the Daily Echo: “I can sympathise with the argument, but we have acted responsibly and well within our rights as the owners of the property.

“Having purchased the site, this is something that we were perfectly entitled to do. We began negotiations to buy the property in 2016 and we checked whether there were any TPO’s to be aware of. We also phoned the council the day before the felling started to triple check that there were no TPO’s and we were categorically informed that there weren’t.

Mr Balson added: “If the trees were in any other garden, we would of course go nowhere near them. They were, however, on our land which means we had the right.

“From our point of view, if the trees were 50 years old and of quality, why weren’t they given a TPO in the years before? There are many trees in the area that do have a TPO, but those that were in 22 Bushmead never did.”