A tree-hugging protest was staged on the border of the parishes of Boreham and Bishopstrow this week, when local people became worried they were about to be chopped down.

The limes, along with a milestone, are situated at what would be the entrance to 35 homes on land off Boreham Road, proposed in a controversial application.

Despite residents voicing anger about the proposal, Warminster Town Council voted marginally in favour of the scheme, submitted by HPH Commercial Property and Hab Housing, at a meeting last month.

If Wiltshire Council grants permission for the application, the trees – on land known locally as Spurt Mead – will be felled to make way for a junction and an access road to the development.

Warminster councillor Paul Macdonald, who led the hugging gathering on Tues-day, said: “We are sending a clear message with this protest that the character and setting of Warminster and Bishopstrow is important to us.

“I was asked to do more than just speak up at meetings, as residents thought that the town council was not listening to them.

“By hugging these trees, which are symbolic of things that are so good here, we are making a strong point.

“Planning councillors and developers have to realise that Warminster can play its role in grand strategies, but not here.

“I have never known our community so united and passionate about an issue.

“We hope Wiltshire councillors will realise this and listen to the community, which is asking them to stick by their policies and save this water meadow.”

Public comments can no longer be registered. The plan will now go before Wiltshire Council’s Western Area Planning Committee, on a date yet to be decided.