TRAFFORD Council has defended its actions after a Sale Moor resident accused it of ‘vandalising a beautiful willow tree’.

Donald Bradnam, 83, wrote to Messenger to express his concern after the council lopped or ‘pollarded’ the tree, which is situated on the corner of Legh Road and Northenden Road.

Mr Bradnam said the tree now looks like ‘something from a 1914-18 battlefield’, but the council said its actions were necessary as the willow had recently lost some branches in bad weather ¬– but emphasised that it will regenerate.

The spokesman added: “Heavy pruning or reduction of the tree height, generally known as lopping, topping or pollarding is not a practice that the council normally undertakes.

“However, in exceptional circumstances when no other options are available apart from the felling of the tree, this practice will be implemented.”

Ward councillor, Phil Gratrix, also said he felt the council had acted corrected in the circumstances.

He said: “I am informed that by next year the tree will again be well on its way to its former glory once again enhancing the street scene.

“One only has to look at the remaining structure to realise what a magnificent tree this has been and will be again.”

But Mr Bradnam, who lives on Legh Road, remains unconvinced and believes the pollarding was too severe.

“I might be wrong, I hope I am, but it’s touch and go whether it will ever sprout again,” he said.

“I understand why it was done but I can’t see why they couldn’t leave a few more branches on to give it more of a chance. It’s dreadful.”