A LANDMARK beech tree interfering with overhead power lines in a moorland village is to be chopped down on the advice of residents.

Last month Electricity North West asked the people of Tockholes whether the tree in a graveyard should be felled or whether the electricity cables should be placed underground.

The closeness of the power lines to the mature tree was considered dangerous.

The firm held a two-week consultation on whether to fell it or to reroute the cables underground causing weeks of distruption.

The majority of villagers who responded backed chopping down the tree in the grounds of Tockholes United Reformed Church.

Tom Woolley, who is overseeing the project for Electricity North West, said: “Neither option would have been straightforward and that’s why we wanted to involve the residents to help make our decision.

“We understand some people will be disappointed at the outcome, but action needed to be taken as the tree presents an unacceptable safety risk. Now we have the result of consultation, we’ll plan the work and inform residents of Tockholes as to when it will take place.”

Electricity North West is also working with the parish council and members of the church to plant more trees in the village.

Mr Woolley said: “The beech tree has stood in the church grounds for many years and we’d like to do something to commemorate it as we know it will be missed.

“Not only that but as we’re removing the tree, we want to plant several more in the village and we’re working with members of the parish council to find suitable locations.

Darwen West ward’s Cllr Dave Smith said: “I have had a few representations about his tree and they were all in favour of felling it. No-one contacted me to say they were against it.

“This decision on a sensitive issue has been taken in consultation with residents.

“It seems to be what the villagers want. I’m pleased that replacement trees are being planted in the village.

“Putting the the power lines underground would have caused weeks of disruption,”

When the tree is removed, there will be a short power cut and two-day road closure.