CONCERNED residents are fighting to stop trees being chopped down outside a picturesque church.

Residents are hoping to stop plans to fell four pine trees which stand in front of the Rectory at St Mary’s Church, Handbridge, which could be cut down after Chester Diocese launched proposals to widen the driveway.

Members of the Japanese Mother and Toddler’s Group who meet in the church hall every week are opposing plans to remove the trees which they say would destroy the character of the village.

Graham Gordon, who runs the group with his wife, said that cutting down the trees was an unnecessary measure, which would destroy the enjoyment of many of Handbridge’s residents.

“Many local people are minded as I am that these trees are far too valuable, seen and enjoyed from many aspects, to be done away with without some exceptional gain demonstrated as a result,” he said.

“Their removal would undoubtedly and detrimentally affect the setting of one of Handbridge's few listed buildings and must be prevented.”

The fight to save the trees comes just weeks after an iconic weeping ash tree was cut down igniting outrage among local residents in the village.

On August 9 residents were woken to the sound of chainsaws and axes as workmen hacked at the tree which stands on the junction of Hugh Street and Browns Lane, Handbridge.

The tree, which was described by residents as a ‘iconic landmark’ holding many memories for people who had grown up in the area, was cut down after CWaC decided the tree was a ‘visual amenity’.

Residents wishing to comment on the planning application to widen the road and provide two disabled parking spaces at the rectory have until September 13 to do so. To view the application visit the CWaC website using application number 11/03006/FUL.