A LONDON council has ordered a landowner to replant trees felled to make way for outdoor sports fields.

Conservationists claim 131 trees were illegally felled in the woodland adjacent to Cator Park in Bromley.

The leaseholder, Prince Choudary, told Sky News that fewer than 40 trees were cut down before the council served him with tree preservation orders (TPOs).

READ MORE: Man arrested after 'protected trees felled' in thriving young woodland

"The land has been in the family for 15 years," he said. "It has sports ground permission so I want to do sports activities there for the local community."

Mr Choudary, a football coach, said children need outdoor spaces to practice and play football and his indoor academy in Camberwell has run out of space.

He added: "All these trees that have been cut down were going to be replanted on the side to make it more beautiful. We wanted a nice sports pitch in the middle and two small pitches on the side."

Mr Choudary has accused local residents of trying to drive him away so they can use the space to walk their dogs.

The investigation about the felling remains ongoing. A man in his 30s was arrested at the time, but later released with no further action taken by officers. The council is now leading the enquiry. 

Councillor Angela Page, executive councillor for Public Protection and Enforcement, said: “Local residents are still quite rightly shocked and saddened at what took place on that fateful weekend when the protected trees were felled. 

"We are considering all the legal measures we have at our disposal and the requirement for the landowner to replant oak trees on this much loved and precious site is part of that. 

READ MORE: Komatsu's new 951XC 'builds on decades of innovation'

"We previously successfully sought an injunction which gives additional protections and our investigation into the felling of the trees is very much continuing.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: "Police were called on the morning of Saturday, 10 June, to Cator Park, Beckenham, over a dispute relating to the felling of trees that were alleged to be under a protective order.

"Officers responded and spoke to a man, aged in his 30s, advising work to cease.

"Officers returned after they were informed that the felling had continued. One man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and taken into custody. After researching the protective order that was in place, the man was released with no further action and the matter referred to the local authority to progress.

"A number of items of tree felling equipment were seized and returned to Bromley Council."