LOOK: More hedgerows and trees cut down by Ashlawn Road developers - The Rugby Observer

LOOK: More hedgerows and trees cut down by Ashlawn Road developers

Rugby Editorial 27th Feb, 2020 Updated: 28th Feb, 2020   0

ANGRY residents are in uproar after more trees and hedgerows were cut down on Ashlawn Road by housing developers who breached planning conditions when they did similar less than a year ago.

Yesterday (Wednesday February 26), all remaining hedgerows and a number of trees were removed from the roadside, next to fields between the water tower and Sainsburys – leaving only four old oak trees and a smaller ash tree.

Rugby Borough Council (RBC) has confirmed that developer David Wilson Homes – which is building 860 homes, a primary school and two new roads at the site – had planning permission to remove the remaining greenery to make way for a cycleway and a drainage system.

A planning condition for the development states that a replacement hedge must be provided “in the first planting season following the commencement of development, or by the occupation of 100 dwellings on the Ashlawn Road site, whichever is the soonest”.

‘Angry and upset’ residents have nonetheless slammed the move on social media.

Their comments included: “Those hedges and trees were there before all of us and important habitat and part of the landscape. It’ll take years before any replanting is established and mature.”

“Absolutely sick of it. So angry and upset seeing this yesterday. Rugby councillors should hang their heads in shame. At a time of so much pollution we need the trees more than ever.”

“I don’t understand why this has to happen. Why can’t they build behind the hedges and trees? Everywhere I travel people are ripping out ancient hedgerows and cutting down trees that are hundreds of years old.”

A spokesperson for David Wilson Homes East Midlands said: “With our consultant ecologist present to conduct full a survey before the removal took place, we were able to confirm the hedgerows were not home to any nesting birds as the safety of the area’s wildlife remains an absolute priority.

“We are committed to looking after the environment and have an ongoing partnership with the RSPB. We will be replacing the hedge with over 80 trees and a native mix hedgerow along the frontage of the development, plus additional planting within the site.”

Last May, David Wilson Homes was told to stop work at the site by RBC when it ripped up more hedgerow than allowed by planning permission.

At the time the developers, who had been given permission to cut down some hedges and trees to create two entrances to the site, explained they had submitted an amendment requesting permission to remove more to make way for the cycleway and drainage channel – but took action before that amendment had been submitted and approved.

In December, an agreement was reached to save a 100-year-old oak tree at the site which David Wilson Homes had previously been given permission to cut down to make room for a footpath and cycleway.

Concerns raised by campaigners and RBC planning committee members sparked talks between the council, the developer and Warwickshire County Council (WCC), and an alternative route for the cycle path was agreed.

At the time, the council’s environment spokesman Coun Howard Roberts spoke of “a genuine desire by all parties to try and find a solution to the problem”.

Rugby Borough Council has been contacted for further comment.

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