AN ACTIVIST climbed a 200-year-old ash tree in protest against developers.

Author Riga Forbes said she was horrified at plans to fell the trees in the grounds of a listed home in her village of Laughton, near Lewes.

Wealden District Council granted permission for developers Helix Homes to remove the trees and tree surgeons were due to arrive at the site in Pond Lane yesterday.

But Ms Forbes scaled the tree and sat in it until they left.

She said she plans to return as soon as they do.

She said: “These are ancient trees, some of which have been here 200 years.

“I was so incensed that they might be chopped down that I spent the morning up one of them.

“One of these trees in particular is 200 years old.”

Ms Forbes said many residents in the village were upset about plans for development on the grounds of the Grade II listed house.

She added: “So far the Uckfield developer, Helix Homes, has already destroyed over 40 trees both in the surrounding garden of a listed building and in the woodland adjacent to it.

“This woodland area has a tree protection order on it because some of the trees here are up to 300 years old, yet the developer who owns the site has managed to get permission to take out lots more trees than is appropriate for a rural area which he has already completely decimated in part.

“How can Wealden Council be prepared to give him permission to do this?”

Council officers used delegated powers to grant permission for the trees to be felled stating they had “no objections”.

The officer stated: “The application is for the removal of three category c trees and part of one category c group. The trees are in a small area of woodland adjacent to the listed property.

“The works are required in order to carry out archaelogical investigations on the site. Given the poor quality of the trees and the necessity to carry out explorative site investigations the application is considered reasonable.”

A spokesman for Wealden District Council said: “The council has approved an application for work to be carried out to three trees in the woodland because of concerns about their stability.

“The work does involve the removal of some trees in order to enable an archaeological dig to take place safely. The work is unlikely to cause significant harm to the public visual amenity of the woodland.” The Argus was unable to get hold of Helix Home.