South London residents have blasted a “disgraceful” council blunder which led to tress in a conservation area being lost for good.

Ten sycamore trees were chopped down after the local authority failed to respond to an application.

The Mitcham and Cricket Green Heritage Society said: “We find that Merton Council failed to respond to the application to fell trees in Esher Mews by Three Kings Pond within the required six week deadline – so they were lost to the Conservation Area by default.”

And the Wimbledon Society has now called on Merton Council to replace the lost trees. 

The application to remove 10 sycamore trees was actually submitted at the end of 2020.

The decision on Merton Council’s planning portal just reads: “Tree work application not determined in six weeks.”

The application said the trees needed to be remove as they were damaging a wall and drains.

Merton Council said when it does not challenge an application it is automatically approved.

It said it is now asking the applicant to tidy up the site after it was not left in a “satisfactory state”.

One disgruntled local tweeted: “That is beyond disgraceful. These trees were extremely mature.

"It will take decades and decades to replace them.

"Why does this keep happening? All trees need far more protection. Just look at the weather last week. Wake up and smell our burning world.”

While Councillor Jenifer Gould called the situation “inexcusable”.

She said: “Are we losing more large trees than are planted? Where’s the data Merton Council? Large canopy trees take 20 years to reach full growth. This is biodiversity loss too.”

A Merton Council spokesperson said: “Sadly, the ten sycamore trees at Esher Mews, Commonside East, Mitcham, were damaging a nearby structure and drains.

“The planning application for the felling of the trees was received on 16 November 2020 and was not challenged by Merton Council due to the damage being caused.

"This means the applicant is automatically permitted to carry out the work described in their application.

“There is no legal requirement for the application to plant replacement trees, as any new trees will eventually grow and start to damage the structures again.

"As part of the council’s emerging tree strategy, we are adding conditions for planting trees that are removed on private property.

“However, we do require the land to be left tidy.

"After an initial site inspection by our officers, the site was not in a satisfactory state, and we are now pursuing this with the applicant.”

At the beginning of July, Morden residents slammed Merton Council for not saving a 400-year-old oak tree from being cut down.