CAMPAIGNERS who fought to save a row of trees have been left devastated to find four being felled without warning.

Four lime trees, close to the zebra crossing in Gilnow Road, were cut down on Tuesday morning to “improve road safety”.

It comes three years after the Save the Gilnow Road Trees group’s people power saw Bolton Council bosses abandon plans to chop down a row of trees on the picturesque street.

They saved 33 trees, which line the road up to the entrance of Heaton Cemetery.

An employee at Treescape North West Ltd, who carried out the work, said he felt “sad” to be cutting down healthy trees.

Ian McHugh, who fronts the group of campaigners, said: “Some people just don’t want the trees there. That’s the only reason to cut them down.

“If a proper consultation had been done, then we regrettably would have concluded that for road safety it’s for the best for the trees to be cut down. But we shouldn’t lose the trees accidentally. It feels like cutting them down is a mistake.”

The trees were initially going to be cut down because residents had complained they contributed to a loss of light, pavement disruption, leaves in gutters, growth on trunks, scratched cars as well as concerns regarding their safety.

The trees also interfered with satellite TV reception, it was claimed.

A Treescape North West Ltd staff member, who asked not to be named, said: “There’s nothing wrong with the trees in our opinion and a lot of people don’t want them cut down. But there have been complaints that people can’t see the zebra crossing so it’s 50/50. The trees are probably 70 to 80 years old. It’s sad to see lovely healthy trees come down.”

A Bolton Council spokesman added: “A pedestrian crossing was installed in Gilnow Road a few months ago, however there were some safety issues around the lighting of the crossing.

“Residents were informed at an area forum that the council was considering removing some trees in order to improve natural light and visibility for motorists.

“The council then decided to remove four trees around the crossing and work to remove the trees started.”