ANGRY residents in Nelson are bidding to overturn Pendle Council's decision to plant fruit trees on a nearby recreation ground.

The plans have been vigorously opposed by 84 residents (as of 1 June), who have cited potential ‘cover for drug dealers’, ‘leaves clogging gutters’ and ‘feeling unsafe around so many trees’ as reasons to prevent the planting on Ringstone Crescent, Nelson from going ahead.

The group have informally met with local councillors to express their dismay at a ‘lack of consultation’ and are due to debate the action in a meeting this week.

This Is Lancashire: PLANS: Pendle Council want to plant around 100 fruit trees on Ringstone Crescent, Nelson.PLANS: Pendle Council want to plant around 100 fruit trees on Ringstone Crescent, Nelson.

Pauline Shaw, who is a resident vocal in her opposition, told the Lancashire Telegraph: “The council are planning to plant these trees on what is a well-used recreation ground in the centre of Ringstone Crescent.

“Children often play football and other activities on the land and this won't be possible if the plans go ahead.

“We were never consulted, yet it was passed at a council meeting in October as there were no objections.

“It's frustrating as we never had an opportunity to give any feedback, but three people have been chosen as spokespersons for the residents and will formally present objections to the council this week.”

Miss Shaw described the area as a ‘wonderful space’ for children to play and that the plans to plant around 100 trees were only discovered in the last couple of weeks.

This Is Lancashire: FUN: Children often use the space to play football and other gamesFUN: Children often use the space to play football and other games

In the written objections, one resident wrote: “The safety and welfare of our children and grandchildren is an issue, as at present they can play on the circle in the knowledge that they are visible to all the residents should there be any problems or, God forbid, any accidents.

“If these trees were to be planted it is inevitable that there will be accidents as children will climb them to retrieve fruit.”

A further objection said: “Another major concern is that the density of the trees could provide cover for anyone dealing drugs or partaking in any other criminal activity.”

One stated that the plantation would lead to an increase in footfall, and in turn vehicles, which would be ‘a danger to us all’, while another said that she ‘wouldn’t feel safe around so many trees’.

This Is Lancashire: OPEN: The current landscape at Ringstone CrescentOPEN: The current landscape at Ringstone Crescent

The Lancashire Telegraph contacted Pendle Council on the matter, who said the plans will 'tackle global warming and climate change' as part of their 2019 ‘Climate Emergency’ declaration.

Philip Mousdale, corporate director for the council, said: “Surprisingly, Pendle has very low tree coverage, even when compared to cities like Manchester.

“We’ve identified a number of sites across the borough which are suitable for tree planting.

“One of these sites is Ringstone Crescent in Nelson, where we’d like to create an orchard of various fruit trees, including apple, cherry, plum and pear around the playing field.

“The fruit would be available for all residents to pick and we’d work with those interested to look after the trees.

“We’re at the very early stages of planning and will be talking to nearby residents before we go ahead and plant the trees.”

Mr Mousdale stressed that the trees would not be any taller than two-and-a-half metres in height and would be set back from the existing tree line to ensure that they did not impact on anyone’s property.