COUNCILLORS approved an application to fell protected trees in the grounds of the picturesque St Michael’s Church in Bracewell.

Members of the West Craven Area Committee last Tuesday reluctantly agreed to fell the trees which are damaging a wall and causing it to collapse.

The work would include removing one Linden tree, two Sycamores around ten metres west of the main entrance and two Ash trees from the north west corner of the site. All of the trees are protected by Tree Preservation Orders.

Neil Watson, Pendle Council’s planning and building manager, said: “We had a meeting with the church to come up with something to preserve the trees and wall.

“All sides agreed there would be an impact on the tree roots, and I don’t think the works could be done without harming the trees.”

Barnoldswick councillor David Whipp. “I desperately wish there was a way to preserve the existing trees.

“The church is magnificent in its setting and the trees help make it that way. I think it’s one of those iconic vistas.

“The alternatives aren’t deemed to be practical, so it is with enormous regret that I recommend we remove the trees on the condition that we replace them.”

In approving the application, councillors delegated a decision to Mr Watson to determine a species of tree that will serve as a replacement.