Controversial tree felling is put on hold over concerns for nesting birds

Work to cut down a number of trees in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, has been paused. Credit: ITV Anglia

Controversial work to cut down much-loved trees in the face of considerable local anger has been put on hold until the summer.

Not because green campaigners have won their battle to save them, but because the council fears disturbing nesting birds.

More than 50 lime trees at a site in Wellingborough called 'The Walks' have been earmarked for removal to make way for a dual carriageway as part of the nearby Stanton Cross development.

It has led to a number of angry protests by locals and climate campaigners.

In February, a group of around a dozen campaigners stopped lorries from getting to the site.

The campaigers argue that the trees, dating back to the 1600s, are precious.

Work to chop down the trees in Wellingborough began in late February but has been paused Credit: ITV Anglia

But now, North Northamptonshire Council has intervened, saying the trees should not be cut down during the bird nesting season - which runs until the end of July.

In an update published on the council's website, leader Jason Smithers, said he "would not expect the developer to undertake any works to the trees" between March 1 and July 31.

He said planning permission given to developers prohibited any works to trees during the nesting season.

The cutting down of the trees had already been paused at the beginning of March for the developer to engage with local residents, who say the action is unlawful.

Four protesters were arrested in February, including an 84-year-old man. Credit: Credit: ITV News

But Cllr Smithers said the Stanton Cross developers are allowed to remove the trees, as they are exempted from the Tree Preservation Order, in order to develop roads for the new estate.

Stanton Cross is a development which is seeing around 3,600 new homes built on the outskirts of Wellingborough.

The estate also came under criticism in recent months, when an Anglian Water sewer pipe failed, leading to the creation of a one-metre diameter pipe system snaking through the development in December.

The removal of the huge pipe has now been delayed.

The work to fix the underground system was meant to finish this month, but Anglian Water says it will be completed next month instead.

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