RESIDENTS have been left shocked and frustrated after dozens of trees were felled at a school.

The trees lined Highcliffe St Mark Primary School in Christchurch and were reportedly decades old, before they were suddenly chopped down.

Residents noticed the stumps on Friday, April 5 and took to social media to express their concern.

Bournemouth Echo: Highcliffe St Mark Primary School after tree felling

One man, who does not wish to be named, said: “The evergreens had been a feature for decades.

“They'd provided a privacy screen and sunshade for kids using the roadside playground, and a good carbon screen from cars.

“The felling seems needless.”

Bournemouth Echo: Highcliffe St Mark Primary School before tree felling

Although the trees grew on school grounds and were not under a tree preservation order, residents felt disappointed by the decision.

The primary school, on Greenways, is located nearby to Jesmond Wood, a much-loved woodland that has been subject to controversy over development plans.

Plans lodged in 2022 were faced with backlash from residents, with more than 200 objections made against the application.

Recent plans lodged in 2022 were the fourth set of proposals tabled by Brentland Ltd after two previous schemes were rejected and the other was withdrawn by the developer.

The application was rejected, and an appeal was withdrawn.

Bournemouth Echo: Tree felling in Jesmond Avenue

Highcliffe and Walkford ward councillor Andy Martin said: “We've been fighting for years to stop Jesmond Wood being chopped down by developers and so far, we've been successful.

“So, my view about trees is that every tree is precious for all the reasons that we know and particularly so in Highcliffe and hence the battle to save Jesmond Wood.”

Cllr Martin added: “I absolutely believe that before any tree is felled on public land or private land, then there should be proper scrutiny and transparency about the process, and that's my concern over this, is effectively the way it was done.”

He said it was “ironic” he had given a talk at the school just last year about “how vital trees are”.

A spokesperson for the school reportedly told Cllr Martin the tree roots had intercepted the drainage system and was causing flooding within school buildings.

They added 20 sapling trees have been planted in more appropriate areas.

Cllr Martin said he will be meeting with the school’s headteacher to understand the decision to remove the trees.

Highcliffe St Mark Primary School have been contacted for a comment.