A COUNCIL decision to cut down trees in Lower Darwen has left some residents ‘appalled.’

Tree surgeons arrived on Thursday to fell the trees that stood at the grassy junction of Bolton Road and Branch Road in preparation for the Pennine Reach scheme which will begin next month.

The eight trees stood at the site’s entrance to the River Darwen Parkway, a 55 hectare stretch of grassland that connects Lower Darwen and Highercroft.

The area received a Local Nature Reserve status in 2005 and is a designated Biological Heritage Site, meaning it is important for local wildlife.

Edward Corless, who lives in Bolton Road, said: “It’s appalling.

“The council just turned up with chainsaws and started cutting them down.

“They didn’t tell anyone or ask anyone - it’s just like they’ve done in the boulevard in the town centre.

“There should have been some consultation, there should have been a dialogue at least before they were able to take this action.”

“I’ve lived here for 53 years and those trees have always been there. It’s terrible what they’ve done.

“It’s even sadder because it’s all too late now; the trees have gone. But what are you supposed to do when they don’t tell you?”

Councillor Maureen Bateson, executive member for regeneration, said that the Pennine Reach scheme - a £40 million transport scheme that aims to improve transport links along the Accrington, Blackburn, Darwen corridor - had been discussed often with residents.

Mrs Bateson said: “The trees have had to be cleared at the junction of Branch Road to enable the new junction improvements to be carried out, including improved facilities for cyclists, better crossings for pedestrians and public transport priority traffic signals.

“A full replanting schedule is also included in the scheme which will put cherry trees back into the area.

“The Council has consulted extensively with residents and businesses on the Pennine Reach scheme throughout the planning process.

“Scheme drawings and delivery timescales can be seen on the website www.blackburn.gov.uk/Pages/Pennine-Reach ”