A FRUSTRATED councillor has attacked a housing developer for cutting down a tree and hedgerows, branding their actions ‘environmental vandalism.’

Cllr Tom Wells, who campaigned against the housing development at Powick, has criticised Taylor Wimpey for the work at Hospital Lane which he says has had a damaging impact on nesting birds and breaches planning rules.

He has demanded the developer reinstate the hedgerows with semi-mature saplings not ones ‘12cm high’ as proposed which he says would take ‘years to establish.’

However, the developer has stressed it removed "part of a hedgerow " to ensure visibility for vehicles turning out of the development as part of the plan. Before it was removed, the hedgerow was netted to ensure no wildlife was present and it worked carefully "to ensure no nesting birds were harmed".

It added the new hedgerow would be at least 1.8 metres in height.

Planning chiefs originally rejected the plans for 61 homes on the former landfill site.

However, developers were granted permission to build following an appeal to the Government.

Cllr Wells, a Liberal Democrat county councillor for Powick, shared images of the developer’s work to remove the tree and hedgerows and said: “So this is what Taylor Wimpey claim is sensitive ecological landscaping. The developers have consistently failed to comply with ecological and planning regulations.

“This completely unnecessary hacking down of a well-established tree constitutes environmental vandalism. They have so deliberately destroyed over 50 metres of verge this week.”

Cllr Wells also said the developer had first removed 30 metres of hedgerows to the left of the entrance.

He claimed the work was carried out against advice which stipulates an ecologist must be consulted to check for nesting birds. Further hedgerows (20 metres) have also been removed to the right of the entrance. A Taylor Wimpey spokesman added it would replace the hedgerow close to its original location and it would be at least 1.8 metres in height. It will be planted after ongoing works to install a new footpath are completed.