Residents’ anger as treasured hedgerow axed

Paul Wilson says the pruning is 'amateur' and 'insensitive to the environment. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Paul Wilson says the pruning is 'amateur' and 'insensitive to the environment. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Residents of a leafy suburb are up in arms after council workers “attacked” a treasured hedgerow so the road could be “kept open for emergencies”.

The 200-metre stretch of trees and bushes at Blackford Glen Road was cut back amid claims access to a vital council depot was being blocked.

But furious householders of the street where the average property price is £257,000 have hit out at the work – claiming the trees have been damaged – and that the savage trimming was unnecessary.

Resident Alistair Scott 
likened the scene of devastation to a war zone. He said: “Over the course of about two hours they turned what had been a lovely leafy lane into an avenue that might have been involved in the Somme.”

But the city council has defended the work – insisting no trees have been damaged – and that the work was necessary to ensure pothole-fixing council vans can come and go without interruption.

Residents of the pretty street – near Craigmillar Park Golf Club – are less than enamoured with their “short, back and sides”.

Graphic designer Paul Wilson, 53, said the hedgerows had been left so badly damaged they were now at risk of disease.

He said: “It’s not a pretty sight – the whole street is up in arms about this. It’s really amateur and insensitive to wildlife, the environment and the general look of the place.

“People come from miles around to walk around the area and they’ve been asking what on earth has happened.

“There was no overhang of the hedgerows whatsoever. We reckon it would have taken the council only a couple of hours using loppers to cut back the occasional branch.

“Instead they used a huge tractor with a large cutting arm to lacerate the hedgerows – at what expense?”

Alistair added: “When I asked the driver of the tractor why he was doing this, he replied that because of the council depot at the end of the road, the road ‘had to kept open for 
emergencies’.

“I pointed out that there was one tree that might be construed as impeding visibility – it certainly wasn’t causing any obstruction or problem to passing traffic – and that this was hardly justification for savaging inoffensive trees and hedgerows.”

The hedgerow, which is made up of a variety of trees and bushes including hawthorn and elderberry, has lined the road for decades.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport and environment convener, defended the work.

She said: “Blackford Glen Road is narrower than usual and the shrubbery growth can prevent cars parking safely along the edge, which is why it is regularly cut back. If vehicles are left further away from the edge and into the road, they can cause access problems.

“I’ve been assured the trees have not been damaged and will grow back. Environment staff will be back this week to tidy up edges and collect cuttings.”