‘When is a hedge not a hedge?’ residents ask

The Walk footpath in Horn Street, Winslow, before one side of the hedge was chopped down
The Walk footpath in Horn Street, Winslow, before one side of the hedge was chopped down

WHEN is a hedge not a hedge?

Residents of Horn Street, Winslow, are furious over what they see as the wanton destruction of a beautiful footpath.

Overhanging trees on both sides had grown up over the years to form an attractive canopy over The Walk.

But farmer Mark Illing recently cut down the growth on one side of The Walk, which is on his land, to a height of just 4ft over a 200m stretch.

Local resident Jeff Crisp said: “Everybody I’ve spoken to has been horrified.

“It had developed this way over many decades and was one of the prettiest paths in Winslow and a favourite for many dog-walkers.”

As The Walk is in the Winslow Conservation Area, Mr Crisp believed Mr Illing should have sought prior permission from AVDC before cutting down the over-arching trees.

But AVDC tree officer Ian Hopcraft, said hedges are not protected by the Conservation Area regulations, although individual trees standing in a hedge can be.

Mr Crisp argued that some of the trees were 8ins in diameter and stood 1.5m high.

But Mr Hopcraft said: “The point at which a ‘hedge’ becomes a ‘line of trees’ differs according to one’s judgement.”

Mr Illing said the growth had been cut back as “part of normal hedgegrow management”.

He said: “They always look a bit dramatic when they’re cut but I think in a couple of years when it’s all filled out it will look like a nice hedge.”

AVDC’s enforcement team leader Philip Dales said: “We can confirm that the landowner did not require permission from the council to cut back the hedgerow. In this case we are satisfied that the landowner has carried out the work in accordance with hedgerow regulations.”