Merton Council is investigating whether charges can be brought after the felling of a tree canopy on Plough Lane.

It comes one month after Trust Ford acquired the Cambria Automobiles’ Ford dealership and destroyed eleven mature trees on May 14.

The destruction of the 30-year-old canopy left both residents and councillors outraged - which led to a protest outside of the dealership the following week.

As previously reported by Wimbledon Times, it was discovered that the trees fell directly under a conservation area and that the council did not grant permission.

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

A list of pledges included a £5,000 donation to a community allotments project and an invitation to their Princes Trust apprentices to plant a tree at every one of their 60 sites across the UK.

But, Merton Council have since released another statement to say that they should have been given six weeks’ notice of any intended works or felling.

The council is now investigating whether any criminal prosecution can be brought under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

A representative from TrustFord said: “We have apologised to the community and are taking action, with the approval of Merton Council, to remedy the situation which includes planting additional trees and providing significant financial support to local schools and community projects, as such we have no further comment to make.”

Wimbledon Times: Before and After ( Before image credit: Google )Before and After ( Before image credit: Google )

Councillor Martin Whelton, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing & Planning, said: “Legal action is always a last resort. However as a council we were appalled at the way these trees were felled without any regard for the impact on the area, the conservation status of trees, or the views of local residents.

“It was carried out in view of local people, and completed without the required consent from the council. We want to send out a clear message that this type of unlawful behaviour won’t be tolerated.

"We are therefore investigating whether any charges can be brought and will do everything we can to ensure those responsible are brought before the courts”.