Neighbours were “horrified” to find a gaping hole cut into a section of bushes and trees lining their street after asking Barnet Council to trim a couple of branches.

Deborah Goldman, 36, asked the council to trim the overgrown shrubbery which forms an island in the centre of Wolmer Gardens where she lives with her husband and two children.

But on Thursday the family was shocked to find the council had chopped several of the bushes and trees down to stumps in the ground.

Mrs Goldman said: “All I asked was for the council to trim the overhanging branches because they were hitting cars when they drove by.

“But when I came back from work I was horrified to see they’d actually cut them down. I was so shocked.”

The Goldmans moved into their home eight years ago when they were won over by the amount of greenery in the road.

Mrs Goldman said: “The trees and bushes was what made us want to move here. It used to be very green and you couldn’t see the houses across the road.

“Now, just sitting looking out is upsetting. What I want to know is what instructions these labourers were given and what on earth possessed the council to destroy one of the nicest parts of the road.”

Other people living in the street are also upset, saying the area now looks "unsightly".

A spokeswoman for the council said: “The whole area was found to be very overgrown and full of litter. Staff cut back the top heavy shrubs, thinned out the overgrown shrubs and removed the self set trees. This will of course grow back.

“Pruning will help the plants flourish when the new growth appears in the spring and maintain the shrubs to a reasonable height.” 

But Mrs Goldman said: “I still think what the amount they have cut down is extreme.

“I wonder whether it’s because this way the council won’t have to worry about the maintenance of the bushes – a cost saver.

“They’ve done this with no real thought for the people who are living here. It’s such a shame.”