COMMITTEE members have found themselves in an ‘awful dilemma’ as they are forced to decide whether they will fell protected trees to save a listed wall.

Pendle Council’s West Craven area committee members will meet on Tuesday to decide the fate of five protected trees in the grounds of St Peter’s Church in Bracewell.

Pendle Liberal Democrat Councillor David Whipp said the issue started last winter, when one of the church wardens noticed a stone had been pushed out of the retaining wall that runs between the church cemetery and Bracewell Lane.

He said “The wall is the responsibility of the church so they brought in advisors to look at it.

“The advisers pinpointed these protected trees as the source of the problem.

“The trees had a preservation order put on in the 1960s and the church is a listed building which includes the wall.

“It really is an awful dilemma”

A report submitted by Pendle Planning, Building Control and Licensing Services Manager said it was apparent that the tree roots are the cause of the damage to the wall.

Although the trees were inspected by the Principal Environment Officer and were found to be in good health the report also went on to say carrying out works to retain the trees and rebuild the wall would be extortionately costly.

It also stated the work would likely be detrimental to the longevity of the trees.

The church wardens have applied for a permit to have the trees felled, which will go before the committee on Tuesday.

The proposed work will see the removal of one Lime and two Sycamore trees as well as two Ash trees.

Cllr Whipp posted a warning on Facebook, in February, encouraging passing motorists to drive carefully along Bracewell Lane due to the condition of the wall.

He said: “The prospect of the wall going over is very frightening because there are many burials behind it.

“If the wall were to fall over the soil containing coffins and cadavers would spill out into the street.

“It’s an incredibly difficult decision because the trees are part of the church’s history.

“It’s tragic to think of them being removed.

“On Tuesday I will be asking if Pendle Council can get a second consultation done so we can look at other options.

“I’m hoping against hope that we can find a way to save them."