Anger is growing over damage to ancient trees on a proposed building site, with locals claiming they have been threatened.
People living near grazing land off Hermitage Park in Lepton, near Huddersfield, have called for a stop to aggressive pruning of trees and hedgerows.
Some of the trees are protected and may be more than 200 years old.
Workers carrying out the cutbacks are said to have blocked footpaths across the fields as well as threatening residents with trespass.
One person walking their dog was allegedly ordered off the site, which resulted in a call to West Yorkshire Police.
Last week Kirklees Council acted to immediately impose tree preservation orders (TPOs) on trees on the land, and pledged to investigate whether other trees already under TPOs had been illegally cut.
The authority said an investigation would be carried out as to whether a criminal offence had been committed.
Colin Parr, the council’s strategic director for environment and climate change said: “The tenant farmer and landowners have been notified of the 17 trees protected by the new Tree Preservation Order and advised to halt any further works to the protected trees.”
The 31-acre site, which is earmarked for housing, is the property of Lord Dartmouth and forms part of the Dartmouth Estate.
James Bradley, speaking on behalf of property agent Carter Jonas, said the work had been carried out by a new tenant and was unauthorised.
He added: “They won’t be doing it any more and won’t be touching the four TPO’d trees any further.”
However pruning work described by one local as “reckless and wanton destruction” continued last week.
Local councillors have joined the fight to prevent further damage.
Clr Alison Munro (Lib Dem, Almondbury) said several large vehicles had been in and out of the site.
She added: “It transpired that a resident was threatened with trespassing and told to leave the fields [on Friday morning] when he was out for a walk with his dog, so the police had to be called.
“Additionally someone else was threatened on Tuesday [for] taking photos.”
Clr Bernard McGuin (Con, Almondbury) said a path across the site – known as HS3 and included within the council’s controversial Local Plan – had been blocked by boughs cut from affected trees.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that paths running across the fields are disputed, which means the council won’t take action to unblock access until an investigation has taken place.
That means paths can be blocked – and remain so – until there is a ruling.
Clr McGuin said: “People are asking if a joint letter should be sent to the government about the way the Local Plan was written without the objection of English Heritage regarding the allocation of HS3 and possibly HS2.
“The view from the listed Woodsome Hall terrace looks straight up these fields and as such any building affects its setting.”