A FORMER Ramsbottom resident has spoken of his sadness after a tree he planted when his daughter was born 14 years ago was removed.

John Drogan lived on Whittingham Drive, on the Broadhey estate, for 18 years before moving to Edgworth last year.

Three weeks ago, meadowland at the back of the estate, owned by Peel Holdings, was chopped down, incensing residents who claimed they had been given no prior warning.

Drone footage taken by Mr Drogan before and after the work was carried out shows the dramatic change.

He said: “It really does show what has happened to the land. They have completely destroyed this fantastic natural resource that the community had without any warning.

“I don’t even recognise the place. There’s nothing there at all now. I cannot believe that someone could do that.”

Mr Drogan says that the land meant so much to him that he planted a tree there when his daughter Isobel was born.

“It was a place that I felt a connection with and I thought it would be something that would be a great memory for her, seeing it grow as she did.

“It grew to be 20-foot-tall, but they have just completely bulldozed it.

“Of course, there are more important things going on in the world, but the fact that we destroy our environment is sad and planting trees is one of those beneficial things you can do. It was just a symbol of nature and something that she could nurture as she grew up."

Mr Drogan says that Isobel, a pupil at nearby Woodhey High School, was distraught when she heard that the tree had been destroyed.

“She was really upset that something that had been there for the same amount of time she has been on the planet has just been demolished.

Bury North MP James Frith informed concerned residents that he had been in touch with Greater Manchester Police, who confirmed that following a report, their wildlife officer is now looking into the matter.

Mr Frith also confirmed that he had written to Peel demanding clarification as to why the land was flattened, and has since been assured that there are no plans to develop the land in the foreseeable future.

He has now asked his office to investigate whether an Environmental Impact Assessment was due.

Peel Holdings declined to comment at this stage.