WORK to fell trees in North Berwick was temporarily halted... by a resident who refused to leave the site.

About 30 mature sycamore trees at Coo’s Green, behind Tantallon Terrace, are being removed by East Lothian Council.

But Hamish Patrick, a neighbouring resident, felt this was against guidelines and his wife went to the spot last Thursday and refused to leave.

This led to council workers downing tools before they had taken down all the trees they had been due to fell that day – but the remaining trees will be cleared later this week.

Mr Patrick claimed “assurances were given” that ongoing felling work had been completed last Wednesday but that council workers then returned the following day to remove more trees.

He said: “The lack of warning is almost the worst thing here as we have no doubt that with reasonable warning this destruction would have been prevented by broader public action.

“The removal [of the trees] required consent from National Trust for Scotland under a conservation agreement.

"The council has indicated the land will be left as scrub, while the conservation agreement requires any trees removed to be replaced.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The tree felling is part of approved works detailed in a management plan for the Castlehill, Greenhead area to remove 30-odd sycamore trees that had self-seeded from the Glen area to return the area to a scrubland/grassland habitat.

"These plans were approved a number of years ago and circulated to various groups without any opposition.

"Unfortunately a local resident complained and refused to leave the site so the final stage of work couldn’t go ahead as planned.

“The council’s tree officer has spoken to a number of concerned residents to explain again why this work is being carried out.”