Police were called out to assist after a protester refused to move from a giant redwood tree in a desperate bid to prevent it from being felled.
Campaigners have been left upset and angry after the 50ft sequoia tree in Rhyddings Park was finally toppled on Wednesday after months of trying to save it.
The sequoia had been a feature in the Oswaldtwistle park for more than 40 years after being donated by Falkenberg - Oswaldtwistle’s twin town in Sweden.
Council workers blocked off one of the entrances to the park to chop down the tree, and police also attended following an attempt to scupper the process.
A police spokesperson said: “We were called at 11.30am to reports of a woman sitting in front of the tree refusing to move. She then moved of her own accord.”
The removal of the tree, which left behind just a stump, has been carried out as part of a £2 million Heritage Lottery project to transform the park - first revealed back in January this year .
Leesa Haworth was one of the campaigners who had previously fought to save the redwood, although she said she did not attend Wednesday’s protest.
She said: “I’m saddened by the council’s inability to listen to the people who voted them in and we will be remembering those names come election time. I’m just very glad I wasn’t in town when it happened and I’m not looking forward to coming home to see the big empty space in the park that the tree dominated.”
According to the revamp plans, a cobbled surface will be laid in its place.
Leesa added: “I also think that the council will be receiving a lot of claims for falls when the cobbles go in because when the tree is gone there will be a lot more water running down Rhyddings Street making it really quite dangerous. They will regret this decision.”
She also thanked local councillor Judith Addison for her efforts in trying to save so called ‘Big Red’.
A petition of more than 2,000 signatures was handed to Hyndburn council in March, but ultimately failed when the council’s cabinet approved the decision to chop down the tree.
The redwood was given a second stay of execution when the decision was called in to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, but that challenge also failed with council bosses deciding that retaining it would compromise the vision for the park, including the efforts of the Friends of Rhyddings Park volunteers.
That decision was taken following advice from an independent arboricultural consultant who had examined the tree and said it could treble in size over the next 100 years, could get infected with honey fungus and an option to remove the tree and replant a 33ft replacement would cost £8,250.
A Hyndburn council spokesperson said: “The sequoia tree was taken down on Wednesday, September 21 in line with the Cabinet’s decision after an independent review by a tree expert, along with a full discussion and debate at cabinet and council, followed by further debate at scrutiny.”