DISEASED trees in Great Harwood's Memorial Park were due for the chop this week.
Hyndburn Council first put forward the plans to fell 27 horse chestnut trees in May, sparking controversy among residents and leading to the formation of the Friends of Memorial Park. But after lengthy negotiations between the two parties, the council confirmed that work to fell the trees was due to get underway on Wednesday and, weather permitting, should be completed by mid-December.
The Friends are now working on a replanting scheme to replace the felled trees. At their last meeting, members and residents were asked to complete a questionnaire concerning the replanting of trees at Memorial Park.
The results have been collated and passed on to Hyndburn Council and Alan Reeves, of Argus Tree Health Care, so they can produce a selection of replanting schemes to be considered at the next meeting.
Chairman Ian Wilkinson said: "It wasn't possible to send a questionnaire to every household in the town, but we did include our 90 members and those residents who attended the last meeting.
"We gathered a lot of information so the council and Alan would have a very clear picture about what residents would prefer.
"It was clear from the survey that local people would like to see an avenue of trees replanted along Allsprings Drive and they would prefer trees that support wildlife.
"We plan to leave a small area in front of the war memorial and the pavilion without trees so that people can enjoy the views of the memorial and the Pendle Hill area of outstanding natural beauty across the Calder Valley."
Anyone attending the Friends' next meeting on Wednesday will have the chance to ask questions about tree diseases, tree felling and replanting schemes. Mr Reeves, a lecturer at Myerscough College, will be on hand to answer technical questions.
A final replanting scheme will be presented to Great Harwood Area Council for approval on 25 November.
Mr Wilkinson added: "We want to make sure the replanting scheme is in place by the end of November, as once the felling is completed we will only have three months of the tree-planting season left.
"It may not be possible to complete all of the replanting this season because of the time scale involved. We also need to make sure any replanted trees will not be affected by the Phythophthora disease that has attacked the horse chestnut trees. This may delay the replanting of some trees until next November."
Wednesday's meeting is at Bank Mill House, Church Street, from 7pm.