Villagers' outrage as trees and hedges axed in ongoing battle
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Campaigners in a Norwich village are furious over the "alarming destruction" of trees at a much-loved nature spot.
Ann George, from Stratton Strawless, considers Mill Lane in Horsford one of her favourite country walking routes.
But she said the lane had recently been "hacked to pieces"— with her petition opposing the cutting down of trees and hedges receiving 300 signatures in five days.
The 57-year-old explained: "I cannot bear the thought that someone is just hacking away at all this wildlife and greenery.
"The lane used to look lovely: now it looks like the entrance to a playing field. It's alarming.
"Branches have been cut from the oak trees too."
The road itself is the responsibility of Norfolk County Council, but the land up to the boundary on either side of the track is privately owned by two separate estates.
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It is understood the branch cutting and hedgerow "hacking" on both sides of the road was carried out by one of the landowners to widen the track to give them better access to fields north of Mill Lane.
This was much to the fury of the other landowner who did not give consent.
Parish council documents reveal police had even been called over the dispute.
Ms George is one of many people who fear widened access could allow more housing development north of the lane.
She added: "The villages round here have increased massively because of the Northern Distributor Road.
"Someone in a position of authority needs to intervene and stop what is happening here. It's madness."
Parish council chairman Chris Brown said the issue was being "blown out of proportion" — and was a matter for the landowners to resolve between themselves.
But the landowner whose trees were damaged says she supports a petition which protects wildlife for the entire community.
The other landowner was approached for comment.
A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: "We're aware of concerns regarding verge trimming, but this hasn't affected any trees or hedges within the highway boundary.
"Verges offer diverse habitats and boost biodiversity in rural areas.
"We’d ask members of the public to report any problems they see on our website and not take action on their own."
You can find the petition here: change.org/p/horsford-parish-council-stop-mill-lane-destruction