Northumberland council has been criticised for cutting down trees that were planted in the Queen Mother’s honour.
The county council is clearing an area of trees and bushes outside county hall ahead of a planning decision for the new £5.7m Morpeth First School on the site.
They argued that by doing the preparatory work now, the scheme would be able to progress more quickly.
The Queen Mother laid a foundation stone at the county hall in 1979 and an avenue of trees were planted in her honour. Many of the trees will be retained.
However, the Forestry Commission has advised the council stop their work while an investigation is carried out into whether there has been a breach of felling regulations.
A commission spokesperson said: ‘Forestry Commission woodland officers have visited the site at county hall in Morpeth and, while they investigate whether there has been a breach of felling regulations, we have advised Northumberland County Council not to fell any more trees.’
Northumberland has defended its decision and argued it does not need a license to cut down the trees.
A spokesperson said: ‘The legal advice that we have received is that the work done on the trees does not require a licence.’