When news happens get involved. Send your pictures, views and video to us by text and email
Milborne St Andrew villagers’ shock at boundary ‘vandalism’
VILLAGERS’ joy over the refusal of a planning application in Milborne St Andrew has been short lived after they lost a hedgerow that could date back more than 200 years.
Local residents voiced strong objections when plans for two houses in Chapel Street were put forward last year.
They raised concerns over the potential flood risk posed by the development as well as the impact on neighbouring properties and more than 120 villagers signed a petition opposing the scheme.
Their objections were echoed by councillors at North Dorset District Council as they turned down the application earlier this year.
However, the residents are now upset as they discovered a hedge along the boundary of the development site has been cut down.
Ed Richards, who lives next door to the contentious site, has found a photo dating back to 1904 that shows the hedgerow in place and has raised concerns for wildlife that lived there.
He said: “It’s unclear who has done this and indeed the motive.
“My wife, Caroline, says that the poor sparrows are flitting from the cut hedging left on the garden and trying to return to their nests.
“As a professional ecologist, she is horrified that this has been done and the damage cause to species.”
Mr Richards said that he was told by a local parish councillor had also raised concerns.
Fellow local resident John Blackwood has found an ancient map from 1786 that appears to show the hedgerow running down Chapel Street. He referred to its removal as ‘spiteful vandalism.”
The Chapel Street scheme was refused planning permission by North Dorset District Council’s development management committee on January 29.
Members cited the impact on the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and the adverse affect on neighbouring properties as reasons for refusal.
‘Not aware’ of any significance
SCOTT Rawlings, from developers Ankers & Rawlings, said the decision to remove the hedge came from the landowner and the firm was not aware that the hedge had any historical significance.
He said: “Ankers & Rawlings are not the land owner, although we are working to achieve a planning permission on the landowner’s behalf.
“The recent planning application had planning officers’ recommendation to approve although the planning committee refused the application and the garden hedge removal was not one of the reasons for refusal.
“A garden hedge is not protected and I am unaware of any relevant historic worth as otherwise these matters would have formed part of the North Dorset District Council planning committee report.”