AN INCREASE in crime and noise and habitat damage are just some of a resident’s concerns after the trees behind their home were suddenly chopped down without them knowing.

The Bishopdown resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, has described the act as “complete devastation” and “vandalism”.

They say that Wiltshire Council (WC), behind the operation, had not informed them of its plans to cut down the trees, bushes and foliage directly behind their property last month.

What happened?

Talking about the day of the incident the resident said: “I was made aware that trees were falling down into our garden so I immediately went out and asked the workers what they were doing, and all they could say was they had been sent by the council.”

After getting in touch with the authority to find out why the trees had been removed, the upset homeowner told the Journal it was because a neighbour had requested the trees behind their own home to be cut down, but not the whole area.

“I told the council I didn’t want this to happen, these trees were planted for a reason and were well established – this just felt like vandalism,” they said.

“If it was a safety issue I would completely understand, but it’s just complete devastation.

"The result of this action has left a large gap in the copse, exposing the area, for no purpose.”

Nature, noise and crime

Damaging the habitat and restricting wildlife, and allowing more street light and noise to reach the property, are some of the homeowner’s concerns.

They fear the open space could act as a catalyst for crime including antisocial behaviour and fly-tipping.

They added that, because residents were not notified of the tree cutting operation in advance, the scene could have also resulted in danger or injury.

'Unforeseen set of circumstances'

Responding to the resident's concerns, Dr Mark McClelland, WC cabinet member for streetscene, said: “The copsed area was reported to us by a local resident as the vegetation was encroaching and damaging their property.

“WC officers visited and assessed the property and as such the works were commissioned in line with our tree maintenance policy.

“We have apologised to [the complainant] for not giving them and other residents notice of the works due to an unforeseen set of circumstances. We have, however, reviewed the works and believe that they were appropriate maintenance for the site.”

There is 'no solution'

“The council has now apologised for not notifying me of something quite life changing, and the destruction of such an important protective belt of 20 years, but there is no solution,” the resident said.

“Natural generation” was the remedy provided to the resident, they claim.

“[The council] has basically accepted liability and now nothing is being done about it.

“This has significantly affected my properly, the council should be wanting to restore relations.”

'Seeking an amicable outcome'

The resident has raised their concerns to Ian McLennan, ward councillor for Laverstock.

He said: “I have recommended that, given WC’s acceptance of no contact with residents affected was an error, that the council contacts both [the complainant and their neighbours], in order to agree a satisfactory outcome for all.

“This would involve replanting of some semi-mature trees, perhaps.”

Adding that the land is earmarked to be transferred to Laverstock and Ford Parish Council, Cllr McLennan said: “My view is that all matters should be amicably resolved with residents, prior to any transfer, or the issue would just be passed with the transfer and leave all costs with the parish council.

“I am seeking an amicable outcome for all and swiftly.”

MP's involvement 

MP for Salisbury John Glen has also been liaising with both the council and the affected resident.

He said: “Where issues fall outside my jurisdiction, it is still an important part of my role to help constituents access decision makers and to amplify their concerns.

“I have done so in this case and remain ready and willing to engage with both parties as required to seek an explanation and resolution.”

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