Outraged residents were forced to step in and help save a group of “mature trees” in Marlow after contractors working on behalf of a housing association attempted to chop them down.

People living Gunthorpe Road were shocked when a team, working on behalf of Red Kite, turned up on Thursday morning preparing to fell three pine trees in the area.

According to reports on social media one concerned residents stood under the trees in protest and Marlow Town Council (MTC) was alerted to the issue.

Marlow resident, Adela Hollingsworth, said: “We think that oxygen is more important than concrete and we want to leave our children at least a few trees and grass areas in built up areas where they can play and observe and support the wildlife.

“Preserving nature is so important. Money talks and I'm sure somewhere down the line there would have been a planning application put in for this little plot of land. I'm so happy that on this occasion residents spoke louder.”

MTC’s clerk, Hilary Martin, has said Red Kite was “entitled” to cut down the trees – however residents were upset than they had not been consulted on the plans.

The town council applied to Wycombe District Council for an emergency tree protection order to prevent the trees from being cut down.

Mrs Martin said: “The contractors, who were working on behalf of Red Kite Community Housing, were entitled to carry out this project and it was perfectly legal.

“However, local residents were upset that they hadn’t been consulted on the matter and there was a significant stand-off on the site.

“MTC's stated position is to object to the felling of mature trees in and around the town.

“The MTC officers negotiated with the contractor to stop work while they spoke to Alastair Cunningham, Senior Tree Officer at Wycombe District Council (WDC), who agreed to the immediate application of an emergency protection order on the three trees."

Red Kite posted a comment on its Facebook page, saying work has been “temporarily suspended” on the site while it “liaises with Wycombe District Council to clarify the way forward”.

The statement said: “We understand how residents feel with regard to the protection of local amenity areas and trees. Felling trees is not something that we take lightly, and the decision will only be taken after an appropriate tree survey had been conducted by a competent arboriculture specialist.

“As a locally based organisation, Red Kite Community Housing aims to work closely with residents to help achieve important objectives like building affordable homes that the community desperately needs.

“In trying to deliver this objective, finding affordable land and sites to develop on in this area is extremely difficult, and we acknowledge that this may at times be sensitive to the local community.”