RESIDENTS have expressed their disbelief that a row of mature poplar trees are being cut down.

An estimated 70 trees are being felled following a report commissioned by the Old Elizabethan Cricket Club, which claims they are affecting members’ ability to play.

The trees form a barrier between the cricket ground and Perdiswell golf club and were planted by Worcester City Council about 25 years ago to act as a safety barrier after a member of the cricket club received a serious head injury after being struck by a golf ball.

But the trees, which are now 28m high, are affecting play for more than 300 members and a number of other organisations which play at the ground due to their height and the ever-expanding reach of their roots.

Tim Phillips, voluntary head groundsman for the cricket club, said a report had found that trees were causing up to 50 per cent of the playing area to be in shade before noon in the summer months.

Several junior matches have had to be cancelled on Sunday mornings because of heavy dew that the sun cannot burn off.

He said: “Old Elizabethans are the biggest club in the city so you can imagine the frustration caused by having so many matches cancelled in what is a very short season anyway.

“Natural light has been vastly reduced by the trees in our practice net area and risk assessments have to be carefully made before the net areas can be used and the roofs of the nets have been damaged due to the sheer weight of falling leaves.”

But residents have reacted with shock at the decision to cut them down.

Audrey Tongue, of Kingston Avenue, walks her dog on Perdiswell and said she was angry with the decision.

She said: “It’s sacrilege, there’s nothing wrong with them.

“Why all the trees have to suffer for the cricket players I don’t know, there’s not enough reason to cut them down.

“The cricket club are just making excuses.

“It’s just so wicked. There’ll be no birds left there. It’s just so frightening to think about.

“Once they have gone, they’re gone.”

Mr Phillips said the club understands the concerns of the public but said the removal of the trees will allow the development of a row of Norway maple and sycamore trees which form part of the golf course fairway.