Concern has been raised over hedges next to a public pathway which are being taken down by builders. Bellway Homes Limited is currently building houses at the Cecily Mills site in Cheadle, and as part of the planning permission, contractors are removing some hedgerow to allow for a site entrance to be installed.
Concern has been raised over hedges next to a public pathway which are being taken down by builders.
Bellway Homes Limited is currently building houses at the Cecily Mills site in Cheadle, and as part of the planning permission, contractors are removing some hedgerow to allow for a site entrance to be installed.
However residents are calling for the hedge and pathway to be protected.
Resident Dean Powell, who contacted the Times & Echo about the matter, said: “There is a need to protect this hedge from destruction by housing developers.
“This is a hedge lined public footpath between Ness Grove and Churchill Road which is an important habitat.
“Residents are not happy that it is at risk of being ripped out.
“The hedge is an important habitat for birds, nesting birds, insects, butterflies and bees. It also has wonderful wildflowers in spring and summer. It is a beautiful avenue for nature and is always a joy to see and experience.
“At the far end of the path is the brook, an important site that supports a population of Watervole.
“Everything looks lovely but now on one side of the hedge a field that once held wildflowers and grasses has been completely dug up to build houses.
“Nature and wildlife is gradually being squeezed and pushed out of Cheadle by thoughtless housing development.
Mr Powell continued: “There is steel fencing either side of it and fencing has blown down on footpath side which is a public safety issue.
“I observed for myself that the developers have put metal fencing either side of the hedge that borders the field where houses are to be built. Why has the fencing been put up along the pathway side of the hedge? Much of the hedge has been thinned out! Are the developers going to rip out the wild hedge habitat along the length of the public footpath? If so this would be highly destructive?
“I recently observed a number of bird species along the hedge already on territory and preparing for spring nesting and the breeding season which is just a few weeks away.
Here we have a stronghold of House Sparrow which as reported by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) recently, is declining in numbers.
“Habitat disturbance and destruction is undermining local nature and our local bird and insect species. We have already lost a population of House Martin here as a result of the forces of housing development.
“This hedge all along the public footpath needs to be protected and must not/should not be destroyed by these house builders and developers.”
The Times & Echo contacted Cheadle Town Council as they had been contacted regarding the concerns about the hedge.
Town Clerk Dave Mullington said: “I am aware that there are a number of concerns in respect of Cheadle Footpath 38. This footpath runs from Churchill Road through to Cherry Lane, and crosses Ness Grove and Cecilly Brook.
“I went to the Bellway Homes housing development site, previously occupied by JCB, and spoke to the site manager. A section of hedgerow has been removed at the Churchill Road site access point.
“It is my understanding that this section was removed in accordance with the plans submitted to SMDC Planning Department.
“Further to this, the site manager assured me that there are no plans to remove more of the hedgerow along the footpath, other than a small section which will provide footpath access to the Churchill Road Recreation Ground.
“It is in the interests of Cheadle Town Council to monitor this situation closely, as there is clearly a requirement to protect and maintain this hedgerow after development.
“Historically, JCB used to maintain the hedgerow bordering their land, and we would expect that Bellway Homes will take on a similar responsibility.”
Mr Mullington added: “As things stand, the development company have advised that a ‘maintenance contractor’ will take on this responsibility once the development is finished, however we have experienced difficulties with this arrangement in the past.
“All too often, Cheadle Town Council have had to foot the bill for developers who abandon their responsibilities for maintenance, and it is not right that taxpayers money should shoulder this responsibility.
“I have written to SMDC to see if post-development maintenance can be addressed as a more stringent part of the overall Planning process, and I am waiting on a response.”
We also contacted Bellway Homes for a comment on the concerns, to which a spokesman for Bellway Homes Limited said: “Bellway can confirm that it is removing a small part of hedgerow as part of the planning agreement to allow for a site entrance to be installed.
“In terms of ongoing hedgerow management, Bellway homes will maintain in accordance with the Landscape andEcological management plan approved by the local authority until the responsibility is handed over to the management company.”
They added: “More broadly, Bellway is undertaking a number of environmental improvements to the site through the creation of a green corridor naturalising the existing brook on the site to allow the channel to become integrated into the soft landscaping.
“We are also providing a number of ecological enhancements include native planting, natural pools, bee banks and reptile habitat, which will help transform this former factory site into a desirable place to live.”
With regards to Mr Mullington’s correspondence to SMDC regarding “post-development maintenance being addressed as a more stringent part of the overall planning process,” a spokesman for the authority confirmed that it “had received correspondence from Mr Mullington regarding long term maintenance issues and that it would be responding to him shortly.”
Photos by Dean Powell
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