Merton Council has issued a statement following the "disaster" on Plough Lane which saw a car dealership "destroy" a tree canopy.

Trust Ford, who recently acquired the Cambria Automobiles’ Ford dealership known as Dees, officially opened on May 14.

The following day, residents and councillors took to online to express their "shock, outrage and sadness" over the felling of eleven trees.

The Wandle Valley Forum highlighted that the trees fall directly within the Copper Mill Lane conservation area and that the felling would have required consent from Merton Council.

Wimbledon Times:

Martin Whelton, who is responsible for planning enforcement, said he was "appalled" to see the "serious breach" of planning rules.

As Wimbledon Times previously reported, the company have since named a list of pledges to rectify the issue.

Trust Ford said it was never their intention to "cause so much upset" and said they will replant a new line of trees and shrubs around the site.

Wimbledon Times: Councillor Edward Gretton urged Merton Council to investigate Councillor Edward Gretton urged Merton Council to investigate

Other pledges include:

- To invest in the wildlife project by the river at Copper Mill

- To engage and help local schools with their green projects

- To provide children in local Merton schools seeds to plant wherever they wish

- To donate £5,000 to the community allotments project to fund new planting of herbs and vegetables

- In 2022, to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee, they will invite their Princes Trust apprentices to plant a tree at every one of their 60 sites across the UK

Martin Whelton, Cabinet Member responsible for planning enforcement, said: “I was appalled to see the serious breach of planning rules which has resulted in a number of trees being felled without our authorisation at the Ford Garage on Plough Lane.

“Our residents like trees. They increase our bio-diversity, and can help to tackle some air pollution.

Wimbledon Times: Grass taken out of the lawnGrass taken out of the lawn

"That’s why we’re committed to maintaining and expanding the amount of greenery in our borough. As such, the council has taken immediate action to rectify this situation.

“We have insisted that Ford replace each of the felled trees with new semi-mature trees, plant additional trees along the nearby riverside, work with our schools on environmental projects, and give a significant financial contribution to local community allotments.

“In the interest of value for the taxpayer, we do not want to resort to legal action, so we’re pleased that Ford is swiftly making good on the destruction it has caused, but we do not rule out further action.

“Environmental damage like this will not be tolerated.

"Our message to any local business or resident who is considering a breach of planning rules is that they will find there is a very high price to pay.”

Lib Dem Councillor Jenifer Gould is calling for answers on the environmental destruction of the trees.

She said: “Whilst apparently the council didn't know about Ford's plans to remove the trees in advance, we expected the council to take a firmer stand in responding to them publicly. 

"After this I expect the community will be paying closer attention to both companies and the councils protection of trees!”