A TOCKHOLES villager has accused Electricity North-West of ignoring local people when deciding to cut down a beech tree in the United Reformed Church’s grounds.

The company says the decision was backed by a consultation with residents.

Andrew Rosthorn, of Ivy Cottages, who led protests against felling the tree in 2010, said: "The opinions of the Tockholes villagers do not matter. ENW had no business conducting an opinion poll in the middle of a pandemic. Many villagers never heard about their plans.

"The beech tree has been legally protected by a tree preservation order since 2003. Police were called in 2010 when ENW sent workers to cut down the tree. The only way ENW can legally cut down the tree is if it becomes dangerous to the public.

"Roland Jones, the council’s tree preservation officer, said the tree is healthy and not dangerous.”

Tom Woolley, from Electricity North West, said: “We are legally bound by health and safety legislation to ensure the safety of our equipment.

“The tree presents an unacceptable safety risk and decisions made in 2010 are overruled by the current guidance and requirements.

“We understand it is a sensitive issue and that’s why we held a two-week consultation.

“We are working with the parish council to plant more trees in the village.”