CONCERNED residents stepped in after workmen started 'hacking down' 40 year-old bushes near their Weymouth home.

Richard Dodd, who lives with his wife at Castlemaine Road, Littlemoor, said they were surprised to discover contractors cutting established Buddleia bushes and trees down to the stump.

Mr Dodd said the large bushes were healthy and contained birds nests.

Concerned about the impact upon wildlife, the couple raised their concerns with Aster Weymouth, the housing association carrying out the work.

Mr Dodd said the intervention may have been just in the nick of time.

"After we spoke to Aster yesterday the work appeared to be scaled back - and they stopped just short of a 50 year-old tree," he said.

"The workmen are back again today. My wife went out and spoke to the person in charge of the work, and they said they're going to travel right the way along the line of bushes.

"However we hope they will no longer be hacking all the way along, and will instead just be trimming back, instead of cutting right down to the stump."

Mr Dodd said he didn't want to prevent the company from doing its job, but acted out of concern for wildlife habitats.

"We're not the sort of people to stir up trouble," he added.

"However, when we saw what was happening, we thought 'hang on - some of those trees have been there more than 40 years.'

"Although the stumps look dreadful we're not worries about the view - our main concern is for the wildlife.

"Hopefully now they won't be doing a hatchet job on the rest of the bushes."

he later added:

"The workmen have done the rest of the cutting back of greenery in a considered manner, in that none of the growth has been cut down to the ground.

"It's understood that these measures have to be undertaken - but a little more thought about how it's done would everyone happy."

An Aster Group spokesman said: “As part of our routine maintenance programme we pruned the hedges and removed litter and items that had been fly-tipped in the area.

“We carry out work like this in the winter, outside of nesting season, so that nesting birds are not disturbed.”