3:00pm Friday 21st December 2012
By Natalie O'Neill
Residents risked life and limb beneath much-loved trees in a desperate bid to save them from being felled this morning.
Police were called in as an impromptu protest saw householders in Mulberry Close, Hendon stand beneath trees as they were being cut down.
Following directions from Premier Management Partners, which manages housing in the close, workmen attempted to chop down six beech, lime and chestnut trees as well as holly trees and hedgerows.
Eric Foxford and Nevris Dennis took their position under the trunks as tree fellers set to work shortly after 8am.
Mr Foxford, 64, said: "I quickly dived under the trees to stop them. I was shouting and yelling - they can't do this. There were logs falling around me but I didn’t stop.
"I have lived here for 34 years and I've really enjoyed watching the trees grow, and the wildlife. There are generations of robins and blackbirds and we don’t want to lose them. There's also lovely bluebells as well."
Police were called in to keep the peace as around ten people joined the protest.
Nevrye Dennis, who has lived in Mulberry Close for 23 years, said: "It means a lot to me to have the trees here and we’re determined to keep them."
A spokesman for Premier Management Partners said: "The residents were told this was going to happen. A few of the trees are diseased and they might affect the mulberry trees in the close so that’s why we’re doing this."
He also admitted there have been discussions about building more flats on the site, which overlooks Florence Street.
Police officers eventually managed to call a halt to the protest as Mr Dennis exclaimed he planned to get an injunction to stop the trees from being cut down.
A spokesman for Barnet Council said: "In accordance with the planning legislation, the council has no control over treatment of trees which are not protected – no consent is required and the work can be undertaken without reference to the council."
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