Fears over woodland clearance
VILLAGERS are furious today over work to clear a wooded garden which they claim gives vital shelter and habitat for wildlife.Police were called in to investigate after a digger started ripping up vegetation and trees were felled.
VILLAGERS are furious today over work to clear a wooded garden which they claim gives vital shelter and habitat for wildlife.
Police were called in to investigate after a digger started ripping up vegetation and trees were felled.
Residents believe the land, understood to be just over an acre, is being cleared ready for possible redevelopment with new homes, though no planning application has yet been made.
The land on the edge of Kirton also features a number of world war two military structures - some of which it is claimed are of national importance.
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Residents have been trying to have the former gun emplacements on the site of The Maltings in Trimley Road protected since April and are also upset that Suffolk Coastal council has not put Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) on mature specimens on the site.
Resident Peter Ling believed action could have been taken under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
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“Wildlife habitat is being destroyed. Badgers forage in that area and there are three species of owls in there and bats using the old buildings,” he said.
“I think it is very sad that Suffolk Coastal are not pro-active in protecting our trees by identifying ones at risk and putting TPOs on them before they can be taken down like this.”
But the family who own the site say work being carried out was essential maintenance to the garden.
Adam Gostling, whose great aunt Frieda Porter owned The Maltings until her recent death, said: “In recent years the garden has suffered through a lack of upkeep and contractors have been employed to remove scrub, weeds and mainly overgrown or diseased trees.
“All trees and hedges on the boundary of the property, which constitute the most impressive specimens on the site, are being retained and will not be affected by the work.
“Owing to the size of the garden and the extent of the overgrown vegetation, the decision was made to use a small digger rather than strimmers.
“Once the maintenance work is completed, the executors in consultation with the residuary beneficiary and other professional advisors will decide how to proceed with the property.”
Before work started checks had been made with the council that no trees were covered by a TPO and the police wildlife liaison officer confirmed on site that works were entirely lawful.
A WW2 pill box had been demolished but English Heritage had examined it 19 months ago and not listed it for preservation.