A CONTROVERSIAL decision to axe trees in ancient woodland in Southampton is now subject to a judicial review, it has been revealed.

Southampton City Council has confirmed that its decision to approve plans to fell five trees at Marlhill Copse is now subject to a judicial review.

It comes as Southampton Airport, which owns the land, yesterday confirmed that work to fell trees at the site has been stopped until June 2.

The reason behind the decision has not been disclosed.

Daily Echo:

Protesters campaigned last year to protect trees at the copse

It comes as the plans were approved by council officers at the start of May.

But the authority was accused of “killing democracy” as the proposals had sparked 50 objections and the council had previously promised campaigners that any decision on future work on trees at Marlhill Copse would be made in public.

Daily Echo:

Residents at Marlhill Copse last year

The authority and the airport defended the decision saying it had to be taken urgently due to the risks the trees pose to the public and nearby properties.

In a statement issued last night the city council said: “The airport has undertaken not to fell the three Monterey pines at Marlhill for the time being - at least until 2 June.

Daily Echo:

Extinction Rebellion protested against any move to cut trees at the copse last year

"As this is now a legal matter, and the council’s decision to permit the felling is subject to a judicial review, we will not be commenting further on any aspect of the felling of trees at Marlhill Copse.”