PLANS to fell more than 100 trees in a Southampton woodland have been rejected.

Civic chiefs refused to approve plans to fell trees at Marlhill Copse.

It comes as previous plans to fell trees at the site proved controversial and a decision to fell trees in May 2020 was quashed by the High Court - although the work was subsequently approved as some trees were deemed unsafe.

As reported, Southampton Airport - which owns the land- tabled new plans to fell an extra 116 trees.

But after a long debate, members of the Planning and Rights of Way Panel at Southampton City Council, decided to refuse the proposals.

It comes as civic chiefs said they believed this would have an impact on the woodland character of the area.

Meanwhile, plans for silvicultural thinning - which would consist in the removal of part of the trees - were approved.

Civic chiefs said it is not possible to give an exact figure for the amount of trees that will potentially be felled as part of the thinning process. But they said the thinning will be undertaken up to a maximum amount of 20% of some areas of woodland.

They also said the work will be overseen by experts.

During the meeting of the panel, some residents raised concerns while others spoke in favour of the plans.

Resident Angela Cotton said: “Once taller trees are removed we have the possibility of heavier aircrafts flying lower over the houses here increasing noise and vibration. Once these magnificent trees are gone they are gone.”

But Jo Proctor, a member of residents group SO18 Big Local, said to be in favour of the plans which are part of a woodland management plan.

She said: “We are pleased that after all this time the woodland has been opened up for public use. We really feel this is becoming a welcoming place for the community to enjoy.”

Mike Weeks, speaking on behalf of Southampton Airport, said the proposals have been assessed “purely on the practice of good forestry”.

He  said the airport is working and will continue to work with experts to ensure the plans will not have any negative impact on the woodland.

Cllr Sarah Vaughan asked why plans to fell trees at Marlhill Copse are not being presented to the panel as a single application.

It comes as plans to fell almost 100 trees were approved last month and plans to fell three pines were approved last summer.

But officers explained that while the plans approved so far were approved on the ground of health and safety, the one recently presented to the panel were part of a woodland management plan.

He also said that only certain trees were subject to a survey last year.

There were concerns over the health and safety of one tree in that area and that will be dealt with separately.