PROTESTERS halted work to cut back trees on a Sheffield playing field after they climbed up branches and refused to leave.
The group began their protest when workers moved in to cut the ash and Norway maple trees near Lowfield Primary School off Bramall Lane.
Activist Charlotte Deberry, aged 22, of Sharrow, said there was “no need” to cut the trees and said the workers were making “an absolute mess”.
The work was part of the construction of a new youth, community and sports facility on the site, which was granted planning permission last year.
The project will also feature a community garden and new play facilities.
A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said it was important the tree cutting was completed before birds begin nesting.
Workers used a crane to lift logs and branches onto a truck, while another lorry was loaded with wood chippings to take away from the site.
Some of the trees had branches trimmed from them while others were cut down to stumps.
Charlotte, who was accompanying the activists with her 17-month-old son Rohan, told The Star protesters had been in the trees for over an hour and a half.
“The trees are absolutely beautiful - you couldn’t see the road before they started,” she said.
“I would have got up into the trees myself if I didn’t have the baby with me. This is the park he plays in all the time. When he was little he used to sit under the trees, it was really lovely.”
She said workers stopped the cutting because it was “dangerous” to continue with protesters in the trees.
“It’s an achievement. We’ve had people saying it’s a really good job that we’ve done this,” Charlotte added.
But a tree condition survey conducted by Sheffield Council two years ago noted the trees were probably planted around 30 years ago with “little or no maintenance undertaken”.
The survey said the trees also formed a screen which could trap rubbish and fly-tipping, and provide a hiding place for drug taking.
The spokeswoman said a consultation has taken place with local residents and the Urban Mixtures youth group before construction started on the new centre.
“Part of the construction phase has involved cutting back trees to allow for work on the site and it has been important the council undertakes this before birds begin nesting,” she said.
“This has been done through all the correct channels and the necessary planning processes and approval has been secured.”