A group of residents are seeking to purchase land from the council after being refused permission to maintain trees which overlook their gardens.

People living on Lyndhurst Avenue in Knuzden had written to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council asking for the trees to be topped as they were blocking the sunlight from entering their gardens after 3pm.

They say that throughout lockdown, their gardens have been instrumental in helping them look after their mental health, but the trees have grown so high that they are unable to enjoy the sunshine for the whole day.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Gill Adsett said: "The trees have grown so high and block the light and sun from our gardens.

"We need these gardens now more than ever, to promote our mental health.

"During lockdown my garden has been my saviour but we lose the sun after 3pm.

"We are aware there's been some controversy over who owns the land but we just want someone to take responsibility and maintain them.

"They need cutting back and as the government may put more restrictions in place possibly until next year we desperately need this matter resolving."

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Despite Lyndhurst Avenue falling under Hyndburn Council's jurisdiction, the trees are planted on land owned by Blackburn with Darwen Council.

Blackburn with Darwen Council's policy when maintaining trees states: "We will not undertake works to otherwise healthy and well-formed trees for reasons of size, leaf, seed, twig or flower litter, shade or blocked views..."

However, residents intimated they would be quite happy to pay for a tree surgeon themselves to come and top the trees.

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Ms Adsett continued: "For many years we have made numerous attempts to have these trees maintained and Councillor Glen Harrison has been trying to help us for the last four.

"We have permission from Hyndburn Council to prune them but Blackburn with Darwen Council have blocked us from doing this."

With no movement on whether a private tree surgeon would be permitted, another resident suggested they could buy the land from the council.

The resident said: "If they gave us the land we would happily maintain it ourselves, it would save a lot of hassle for us and save the council money."

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

Labour Councillor for St Oswald's Ward on Hyndburn Borough Council, Cllr Glen Harrison, said he was in favour of the residents taking ownership and maintenance of the land if it meant the issue would be resolved.

He said: "It has been a long running issue with residents unable to trim back trees or hire professionals to do the work due to being blocked by the council.

"There was also the argument over who's land it is - is it Blackburn's is it Hyndburn's?

"I believe the land belongs to Blackburn with Darwen Council.

"The residents said they would be more than happy to pay for a tree surgeon to come and trim the trees but it seems the council is unwilling to work with them, and they are even being threatened with fines should they carry out the work.

"If residents have the finances and the motivation to maintain those trees or to buy the land then it's my view that they should be considered."

Regeneration boss at Blackburn with Darwen Council, Cllr Phil Riley said he would be happy to discuss the prospect of residents buying the land from the council but would speak with planning officers first.

He said: "I am happy to have a conversation with the relevant officers to understand the reason for the apparent impasse, and will hopefully come to a conclusion from there."