RESIDENTS have been refused permission to axe three sycamore trees at Farnborough.

The 60ft tall trees are in the back garden of Professor Patricia Thomas's home in Alexandra Road. She told Rushmoor Council that she wanted to chop down the trees because they cut out the light to her house and garden.

Professor Thomas added that she intended to replace the unsightly trees with smaller flowering varieties.

Her application was supported by the Rev Ian Hedges whose home in St Marks Close is overlooked by one of the sycamores. He said the tree had grown too high and posed a potential threat to safety. Like Professor Thomas, he complained that it cut out the light to the side of his home.

But the council development control committee decided, by six votes to four, that the trees should stay put. They confirmed a preservation order, served last month, after being told in a report that the trees were in sound condition.

All three are estimated to be 70 years old, and have a life expectancy of more than 200 years.

Planning chief Keith Holland said: "It is considered that they are established features and that they contribute to the 'greening' of the area."