Protesters have forced a council to temporarily stop felling trees on a school playing field.
They want to save the century-old copse at Wolsingham School and Community College in Weardale, County Durham which is due to be flattened to make way for a new sports pitch.
It is part of a major redevelopment of the Wolsingham school and had been due to be built elsewhere until a protected species of bats were discovered on the original site.
One local woman sat on one of the 20 or so mature deciduous trees as work began yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon and early this (Wednesday) morning to prevent work going ahead.
Her protests – along with others on Facebook’s ‘I love Weardale’ page – have led to the work being delayed.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “They don’t need to put the football pitch there. It’s the most inappropriate, silly place to put it.
“It’s just atrocious, felling healthy big trees for no reason, just for some floodlights. They could move the pitch up the field where there’s nothing next to it other than some sheep.”
Stuart Timmis, Durham County Council’s head of planning assets said: “Previous plans to place the games area elsewhere on the site unfortunately fell through due to a protected species being present and a legal requirement to ensure that these were not impacted by development.
“We have not taken this decision lightly and, while there are no protection orders in place, it is regrettable that the trees will have to be felled. We are, however, working closely with the woodland trust to provide hundreds more which will be planted around the new school grounds.”