A desperate 24-hour battle to save trees from being ripped down at a former hospital site has ended in victory for people power 

Neighbours of the Patrick Stead Hospital site in Halesworth woke up to see tree surgeons inspecting several tall trees on the perimeter of the site.

The tree surgeons were there as work is under way to transform the hospital building into six townhouses by Western House Developments.

The neighbours alerted members of the town council at 9am on Thursday, March 21.

The council then acted quickly to put pressure on East Suffolk Council to issue an order to save them.

By 6pm that day a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) was drafted.

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Police were present to ensure peace while the TPO was draftedPolice were present to ensure peace while the TPO was drafted (Image: Rachel Kellett)Beccles & Bungay Journal: Neighbours woke up to see tree surgeons present on the siteNeighbours woke up to see tree surgeons present on the site (Image: Submitted)

The following morning police were in attendance as councillors gathered to ensure the trees were not felled while East Suffolk Council reviewed the TPO.

After a tense morning, the order was issued to the developers to stop work on felling the trees at 2pm last Friday.

Halesworth Town councillor, Geoff Wakeling said: “I’m thrilled to report that we have managed to get a provisional Tree Protection Order for the four trees at the front of the old Patrick Stead hospital.

"These include the three horse chestnuts and the large and beautiful copper beech.

"The TPO will last for six months provisionally, during which the council will deliberate on whether to make the order permanent."

READ MORE: Sale of Suffolk hospital for £550,250 a 'missed opportunity,' councillor says

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Police were present while the TPO was negotiatedPolice were present while the TPO was negotiated (Image: Rachel Kellett)

An East Suffolk Council spokesperson said: “Tree officers attended the former Patrick Stead Hospital site on Thursday 21 March following a reported risk of trees being felled.

“A Tree Preservation Order was served early on Friday morning to prevent any further risk to the main trees on the site, which include two horse chestnut trees and two beech trees, including a copper beech.

“The TPO will remain in place for six months and will prevent any further work to the trees while further discussions with the landowner and developer take place and consideration is given to making the order permanent.”

Western House Developments was asked for a comment.