A BITTER row has broken out between residents in Sandy Lane, Accrington, and governors of St Anne's and St Joseph's Primary School after the felling of a number of trees on the school field.
People living on the street said that they could not believe their eyes when they discovered that six hawthorn trees had been chopped down late on Saturday evening.
But chairman of the governors at St Anne's and St Joseph's, Bernard Holden, said the trees had been cut down as part of a plan to conserve the hedgerow.
Claiming they would re-sprout, he said the felled trees had been used to block up holes in the hedgerow, to stop people trespassing on the field.
Sandy Lane resident Frank Giggs said: "He has cut down half a dozen or more haw-thorn trees, which would have been about 10 feet high. All of the residents are upset about it.
"He has used the trees to try to stop people from using the school field. It is just vandalism.
"People are upset at the way he has gone about it and a lot of people have commented because he has made such a mess of it."
Neighbour Stephen Foster added: "When I saw what had happened I just stood in disbelief. This is not a case of pruning - it is just butchery. Quite a few of the residents are up in arms.
"I cannot see any good reason as to why this should be done. The laughable part is that the school is thinking of planting trees in the area."
But Mr Holden argued: "Residents are using the field as a public footpath and they are damaging the property of the school. In the past we put a barbed wire fence up and someone cut it down.
"We wanted to stop people coming in because we are planning on building an outdoor classroom. We are trying to get all of this going but we can't until we stop people from using the field. We can't get on there for dog dirt.
"We have left a bit of the tree roots - we have consulted with farmers and they said they would sprout again.
"We have placed the trees across holes in the hedge to stop people getting through. We want to keep the hedge. People are being rather selfish by trespassing and stopping the school from developing as it wants to."