A raft of huge trees have been hacked down along a busy Worcester road – with furious residents describing it as “vandalism”.
This is the shocking scene along the A4440 Swinesherd Way, where beautiful trees once shielded Whittington residents and added charm and character to the landscape.
But utilities bosses have removed the entire sweep, sparking shock and anger among community leaders – who say it took them completely by surprise.
Earlier this year Worcestershire County Council controversially removed scores of trees along the adjoining A4440 Southern Link Road as part of the part-dualling project.
The work along Swinesherd Way, turning the bund into a barren hill, has been done by Western Power Distribution due to concern the trees were interfering with power cables in the sky.
But the impact on the environment has come in for heavy criticism from people living nearby.
Resident Keith Burton, of Spetchley Road, who sits on the Spetchley Road Area Residents Association, said: “Those trees have been there a hell of a long time and we just can’t see how it was necessary to do it.
“Everyone I speak to is absolutely gutted, they are all saying ‘why did they do that for?’
“It’s vandalism, really – what makes it worse is that the trees were up a hill, it would shield Whittington residents from the noise.”
Councillor Richard Boorn, who represents the Nunnery ward on the city council, said:
“There is such a lack of respect shown to residents from councils, highways authorities, utilities – why would anyone be surprised by this.
“It’s like banging your head against a brick wall, and now the residents have got to put up with the consequences.
“It is an act of vandalism. They should be forced to replace every tree they’ve chopped down with a replacement.
“It’s beyond frustrating.”
But the utility firm insists the move was done on safety grounds, and that the land is privately owned.
A Western Power Distribution spokesman said: “We had signed consent from the land owner to cut the trees.
“The reason for cutting the trees was that they were directly growing under our 132kv overhead line.
“We have to keep our network safe and secure, therefore this was essential tree clearance.”
The body declined to comment on protests from the residents’ association that the trees should have been trimmed, rather than removed.
A spokesman for the county council said the entire operation was complete in 24 hours last week and did not require formal permission.