A war of the woods is rumbling on between conservationists and a developer after fencing and small trees were hacked down on land that both parties claim they own.

Members of Heaton Woods Trust called police twice in the past week claiming criminal damage but neighbour Asghar Choudhury, who has outline permission to build new homes at the back of nearby Ashwell Farm in Ashwell Road, says the strip of land that he was clearing belongs to him.

Police have confirmed inquiries are ongoing about damage reported to them but said the dispute over the land was a civil matter for the two sides.

John Tempest, from the trust, said: “We’re hoping the police will take action over the damage that’s been done. If they don’t it will cause a furore.

“The dividing fence has been destroyed, large trees have been mutilated and a hedgerow wrecked. We will have to consider our options and take civil action.”

The trust is adamant the area was sold to them 20 years ago. However, Mr Choudhary said: “I don’t think this will rumble on because the land is mine. I have all the proof I need, it’s on the deeds. The fence the trust thinks marks the boundary was only put there to keep his horses safe years ago by the man who sold the land and that’s no longer necessary. The drystone wall is the boundary marker.

“I can’t understand what the dispute is about anyway. I’m not going to build anything on that bit. There was just a lot of overgrown bushes. I’ve made it look better, nicer for people to look at. I’m going to landscape it, maybe put a Japanese acer there so there’s lovely colour in autumn.”

In March the Telegraph & Argus reported how the trust claimed victory in its green space fight against the possible houses after receiving a letter from Bradford Council’s solicitor which appeared to indicate it did own the piece of land included in an outline planning permission granted in November 2010 for Mr Choudhury to build 27 homes.

Claims by the trust the land belonged to it had originally been rejected by planning officers and ruled “immaterial”.