Tree lopping has left a housing estate in a Herefordshire town "looking like the Somme", it is claimed.

Gary Bills said several trees had been cut back at the top of Bronte Drive, on the New Mills estate, Ledbury.

As a result an area of greenery was looking “like No Man’s Land on the Somme”.

The Somme was a horrific First World War battle, and its muddy, shell-pocked landscape has come to be one of the defining images of the war.

Ledbury's deputy mayor Phillip Howells said he wasn’t aware of any scheduled work and thought it may have been carried out by someone with permission from Herefordshire Council’s contractors.

Mr Bills, a poet and author, said: “I live on Bronte Drive, where there has recently been excessive tree lopping along the edge of the little meadow at the head of the drive.

“Who has voted to create these amputated groves? When did Herefordshire councillors actually vote to allow this regressive abomination?

"It makes parts of the New Mills look like No Man's Land on the Somme.”

A leaflet from Ledbury Liberal Democrats posted through doors recently presented the trees as a “danger to property should they fall or be blown over”.

Hereford Times: Gary Bills says the tree lopping has been excessiveGary Bills says the tree lopping has been excessive

But Mr Bills said: “They are young trees on the New Mills. I've lived here for almost two decades, and I can’t recall a tree coming down. 

“I am not opposed to tree lopping as such if needed, but some of the work seems to be truly excessive as of late. I question whether some of those trees will live.

Wildlife havens

“These trees on the estate are valuable wildlife havens and corridors; we even have muntjac deer coming through.

"I would say we don't need an open season on trees, but a policy that respects and monitors them properly as the community assets they are.”

Councillor Howells said: “One of the problems on the New Mills estate is that it was ahead of its time in being a green estate.

“It has plenty of trees and greenery, which is very pleasant, but I have had a number of residents come to me concerned about the possibility of trees being blown over.

“People ask ‘what can I do?’ and the advice is to contact Balfour Beatty, who are contractors for Herefordshire Council.

“When trees are cut, they are usually left at two-thirds of their height, in some cases lower. When they are chopped down to a lower level, it’s usually because they are pushing against a fence or something, but this should still be with permission from the council.”

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