WORK to pollard huge trees at Los Altos Park in Sandown has drawn criticism from residents of the town — due to the severity of the cutback.

The Isle of Wight Council says the Holm Oak trees will be maintained as pollards from now on with an annual pruning cycle, and a native — more suitable — species will be planted in a parallel line.

However resident Jane Cresdee said it was difficult to capture the severity in pictures, but the work amount to a "chainsaw massacre".

She said the park was in the process of destruction and it had left residents of Sandown "dismayed and in shock about what is being done".

Scroll down for Jane's video 

On the Sandown Hub Facebook group, several comments supported Jane.

Rod Wilcock said it was "licensed vandalism — absolutely no need for that severity of cutting back."

Michelle Price agreed, saying: "That's brutal. I can't imagine they need butchering THAT much even if they did need a bit of a prune for safety's reasons."

As previously reported, Christopher Saunders of Fairfield Gardens, whose property backs on to the railway line, also fears the work is excessive.

He said: "There appears to be little regard for not only the aesthetic appearance of what is being left behind, but also the wholesale decimation of wildlife habitat, in an area of parkland and natural beauty.

"The bank of trees running hundreds of yards along the edge of the railway, is home to rooks, crows, and much other bird life and as we have had sightings of red squirrel.

"My feeling is that the council should be mindful of retaining dwindling arboreal reserves, and the way in which this action is being conducted may not necessarily be in the best interests of the community at large."

Isle of Wight County Press: Tree work at Los Altos Park. Picture by Jane Cresdee.Tree work at Los Altos Park. Picture by Jane Cresdee.

The Isle of Wight Council said the trees are Holm Oaks which used to be a hedge along the railway line, but have since grown into 20m high trees.

Click here to read the full council statement

A spokesperson told the County Press: "Because of the growth habit of the Holm Oaks at this location, their closely planted proximity and their propensity to form a low arching overextended crown over the path and railway line, they pose a significant risk to the public when they fall, either onto the path in the park or the railway line.

"It is necessary, therefore, to reduce the risk with appropriate remedial works to the trees.

"However, if possible, we prefer not to remove these trees entirely and with this in mind, the Holm Oaks will be maintained as pollards from now on, with an annual pruning cycle.

"This means the tops will be cut off, but allowed to grow back until they are cut again in a few years' time, in a similar manner to plane trees on the nearby streets.

"These trees are a natural and cultural asset and therefore it is the intention of the council in the future to mitigate for the loss of canopy cover by planting a row of native tree species parallel to the line of Holm Oaks, but outside of the falling distance of the railway line.

"This will provide a greater diversity of native tree species for future generations to enjoy, whilst maintaining the safety of the public ­— our main priority."

The work, being carried out by contractor Ivy Tree Care, is set to continue for a few weeks.