RESIDENTS have spoken out after a copse of mature oak trees at a West Wight caravan park was decimated at the weekend.

Silver Glades Caravan Park is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and the Forestry Commission has launched an investigation following the works.

Cranmore residents say there is no felling licence lodged with Forestry England, and have contacted the body to see what can be done.

"Saturday morning, I heard a crashing and thought it was strange," said one Cranmore resident, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"I think a good 40 trees have come down, and others have estimated more ­— upwards of 70.

"This is where I think the laws are behind the times. The wildlife protection officer came down and said he couldn't prosecute.

"He went on site and couldn't find evidence of any wildlife damage, but my understanding is we need to preserve trees for the whole ecology of the food chain.

"They could force them to replant the area, which would stop them from profiting from the destruction of the land at least.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"They worked from first thing in the morning until 7pm, Saturday and Sunday."

Another resident said: "I think it's shocking that people ­— non-Islanders ­— have come over, bought up the site and want to do with it whatever they please.

"Islanders have more respect. Those who have chosen to live here value the Island life and nature.

"Once a tree is down, it's down. 100 years of growth is not going to be replaced overnight.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"They need to replant, and they should pay a hefty fine if they've flouted regulations.

"I think it will act as a deterrent for anyone else looking to do the same, and should stop the possibility of the site being expanded.

"I also hope it will stop the possibility of them being able to extend the season from nine or ten months through to annual.

"That would make it completely residential as opposed to holiday makers, which has always been the ethos of the site.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"It's traditionally been for family holidays and lovers of nature, and everything worked on an eco basis.

"It's a dreadful shame, and if this went on throughout the Island, it would be catastrophic."

"It's a disaster," said a resident closer to the site.

"I'm worried they will develop it into a residential park, which will bring maybe twenty more residents.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"It will mean putting more light on, and it's a dark skies area here ­— we're very concious of that.

"The disruption will be enormous, in addition to wrecking the AONB in the area."

Isle of Wight County Press: