Residents in Barrow are ‘upset’ and ‘disgusted’ over council plans to cut down trees on their street.

Infield Park residents have voiced their concern over the proposed felling of 19 trees set to start on March 19 that the council says is necessary for ‘public safety’.

Residents said they received a letter from the council on March 6 informing them of the proposed tree felling and said ‘we’ve not been involved in any of the decision making’.

A spokesperson for Westmorland and Furness Council said damage had been identified on the footways which is 'causing a risk to pedestrians'.

“Surveys will be carried out by a trained professional on each individual tree to identify any evidence of nesting birds or bats and if found the tree will not be touched at that time," said a spokesman.

New trees will be planted within tree pits across the street to replace those removed, said the council.

Local resident Joanne Fitzsimmons said: “We noticed they put a red dot with spray paint on every tree.  I had my doubts and concerns over what they were going to do and it was shortly followed up with the flyer that was pushed through that gave us 13 days notice that every tree on the cul-de sac was going to be chopped down.”

The letter residents received from the council said tree felling and re-planting would be taking place between houses 5-21 and 2-20 on the street.

It stated: “I am writing to inform you of tree felling works that we plan to undertake on the above section of the highway. Unfortunately, due to the footway damage this work is necessary to public safety.

“The large scale root heave in the footway means that repairs cannot be carried out without removing the existing trees. Footway construction works are due to commence in the next financial year.”

On when she felt when she found out the news, Ms Fitzsimmons said: “It was just devastation really because it is a leafy street and that’s what attracts you to it in the first place when you buy the house.

“The trees, apart from the little one, are as old as the houses which I think were built in 1904 so 120-year-old trees that are established and mature.

“It’s so sad because I like history as well. The houses are Victorian and in keeping with that time the trees match the houses and it won’t look the same without the trees”

Tony Rooney said he was ‘disgusted’ by the proposed felling and added: “They’ve even put an orange dot on the little Cherry Blossom, they’re not telling me a tree that big is doing damage.”

According to residents there are a lot of birds, bats and squirrels on the street.

Ms Fitzsimmons said: “I went to a meeting last night at Newbarns ward council meeting and one of the chaps there said he brings his grandchildren into the street to see the squirrels so people know there is wildlife on the street.”

The letter from the council adds: “Please be assured that as part of these works we will be replanting trees along this section using the correct methods to ensure that future root heave shouldn’t be a problem.”

The work is set to commence on March 19 and is expected to take two days.

A spokesperson for Westmorland and Furness Council, said:

“Following inspections by council officers, damage has been identified on the footways at Infield Park, which is now causing a risk to pedestrians.

“Unfortunately, the trees planted at the time on Infield Park were planted with no grass verge or tree pit and as a result the footway and kerbs have lifted in various places due to root heave from the trees. This has caused defects in the footway which present a risk to highway users on Infield Park.

“Any attempt to repair the footway will require excavation of the footway surface and in order for repairs to be successfully made, the surface would need to be level which the tree roots currently prevent from being possible.

“Surveys will be carried out by a trained professional on each individual tree to identify any evidence of nesting birds or bats and if found the tree will not be touched at that time.

“Following the footway resurfacing works, new trees will be planted within tree pits across the street to replace those removed. The type of new trees to be planted will be advised by the council’s arboriculture specialist to ensure a suitable specie is used.

“We understand the concerns raised by residents and while the removal of any tree is always regrettable, public safety is our utmost priority. This is not a decision which has been taken lightly, all alternative options have been explored and careful consideration has gone into planning to ensure these works cause minimum disturbance to both residents and wildlife.

“Planting trees is an essential part of the council’s journey to help tackle climate change and improve the health and wellbeing of our communities. There has been an extensive programme of wider tree planting taking place across Barrow including 71 trees planted along prominent roadside verges including Abbey Road in 2023, around 800 new native trees and shrubs planted last month as part of a micro-woodland project, and more tree planting planned as part of upcoming active travel schemes.”