HOUSE builders Barratts face possible prosecution for chopping down two trees at Aldershot's controversial Manor Park site.

Sub-contractors demolishing disused classrooms axed the trees, which were covered by a preservation order.

The blunder was discussed behind closed doors at a meeting of Rushmoor Council's development control committee.

Members were told that the company was well aware that all the trees on the land in Church Lane East had to be preserved.

"However, due to an admitted oversight on the part of the demolition sub-contractor, two trees had been cut down during the demolition process," planning officers said in a report.

Barratts, which hopes to build 139 homes on the land, immediately reported the mistake to the council.

"The company accepted responsibility and offered to re-plant 11 metre high trees in place of the two mistakenly cut down," added the report.

Because of the offer, the committee agreed to defer a decision on whether or not the company should be prosecuted.

News of the slip-up is likely to anger nearby residents who fought a bitter battle to save the site for educational purposes.

Despite their protests, Farnborough College of Technology sold the land to Barratts for £8.7-million.

The company was recently given the green light to demolish the derelict classrooms and other buildings, but it is still awaiting planning permission for its house building blueprint.