Hedge removal is act of vandalism by council

Vandalism has not only happened in some of our major cities but this week in Meads – and perpetrated by Eastbourne Borough Council.

The article in last week’s Herald, “Diseased hedge will be replaced”, was presumably generated by council officers in an attempt to soften up local opposition to the proposal to remove the hedge fronting Helen Gardens.

There has been growing concern at the removal of the hedge as this was one of the options for the proposed cycle path past Helen Gardens. The justification for the removal now is that it is suffering from the early stages of disease.

This may be so, but an independent report with possible remedial action to save the hedge was in the process of being sought to justify the removal of the hedge.

The article was published last Friday and with unaccustomed council haste, contractors started to demolish the hedge this Monday.

The removal of this hedge has ruined the visual aspects of Helen Gardens. As importantly, the hedge provided a security barrier against vandalism and a safe area for parents of young children playing in the gardens. It has also forestalled any attempt to obtain an independent report on the hedge’s condition.

The hedge has now been completely removed but I ask for the following explanations:

Why did council officers not wait for publication of the consultant’s report on the most recent cycle path consultation in Meads?

Why was the action to remove the hedge started three days after the publication of the article and the date for removal not mentioned in the article?

Why were local residents and organisations known to the council who have an interest in Helen Gardens, including local Meads councillors, not informed of its imminent removal?

Why was there such unseemly haste to remove the hedge and create an eyesore in the heart of the tourist season?

What remedial action for the hedge had been considered? Now that it has been removed when will it be replaced?

The removal of this hedge is an act of vandalism by Eastbourne Borough Council and a blatant attempt to pre-empt further discussion on the proposed cycle path and the future viability of the hedge fronting Helen Gardens.

Dennis Scard

Cranborne Avenue, Meads.