A COMMUNITY is fighting to save a willow tree which housing bosses were told to chop down.
People living near Sparable Lane, in Agbrigg, said the cherished tree had been a beautiful community landmark for decades.
And when they discovered the weeping willow being hacked to bits on Tuesday, a horrfied trio of neighbours ran underneath it to prevent workers from finishing off the job.
Wakefield and District Housing (WDH), who are responsible for the land, said they were advised to have the tree removed as it posed a danger to motorists and pedestrians.
And they are now carrying out a survey to see whether or not it needs to be removed completely.
Jill Dunnington, who lived in the area for about 30 years, said: “It looks like they’ve hacked it to death which is such a shame because it had grown into a stunning tree.”
Ms Dunnington said her dad helped to strap the tree back up shortly after it was vandalised in the 1970s.
She said: “It’s always been there, since we were kids, and everyone comments on it. All the children love to play near it and a friend’s daughter burst into tears when she saw the state it had been left in as she was coming home from nursery.”
Robin Joss, of Willow Drive which she said took its name from the tree, said she had urged Wakefield Council to issue a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) which would legally prohibit anyone from removing the tree.
She said: “It’s a landmark tree and was a beautiful piece of our area. I’ve been assured that it will recover but we are hoping to have an order placed on it.”
Mark Trafford, WDH area manager, said: “We take the safety of tenants and residents extremely seriously, and following an inspection carried out by tree specialists, we were advised that the tree should be removed as it poses a danger to people using the footpath and the nearby road.
“We are currently carrying out a second survey to establish exactly what needs to be done to ensure everyone’s safety.”