A plan to chop down a swathe of trees to clear a footpath has been condemned by the Friends of Mitcham Common.

Mitcham Common’s board of conservators voted in favour of removing more than 10 trees from the Common where Croydon Road meets the BP garage at a meeting in March earlier this year.

The Friends of Mitcham Common have said they are "appalled" by the plans which the conservators say are necessary to improve safety, discourage anti-social behaviour and encourage more people to use the Common. 

In a newsletter to residents, the Friends of Mitcham Common, said: "Effectively the entire wood is to be removed leaving only a path, a fence and a clear view of the BP Petrol Station.

"We asked for a site meeting and met the warden and the chairman, hoping that we could work together with the conservators to come up with a more sympathetic plan for the area.

"We could support a clearance of the undergrowth, keeping most of the big trees, or diverting the path to avoid the oaks at the entrance which are a large part of the problem, but all suggestions were rejected."

As part of the plans two large horse chestnuts, two large willows, two large poplars and a number of sycamore and hawthorn trees will be removed and a 6ft fence will be erected adjacent to the BP garage.

Tim Godfrey, chairman of the Mitcham Conservators, said: "It’s a scheme that minimises the numbers of trees to come out in order to open up the area and improve both how it looks visually and in terms of safety.

"It’s a necessary part of improving the common and encouraging people to use it and to make more use of the common.

"The Friends have a very fixed view which is basically not to take any trees down but we have to manage it for the wider benefit and for local residents."

Work is currently expected to begin next spring.

The Friends of Mitcham Common will be holding their AGM on October 24 at the Ecology Centre on Windmill Road, Mitcham from 7.30pm to 9pm where the plans will be discussed.