Residents ‘petrified’ after vets’ hedge cuts

Mac McDonald by the hedge which was cut back
Mac McDonald by the hedge which was cut back

NEIGHBOURS of a veterinary surgery say they have been left “petrified” after the practice cut back a hedge and left their gardens exposed.

The decision by PR Cooper and Associates on The Ridge to scale back the hedge dismayed residents of De Chardin Drive which is behind the surgery, but after a meeting between the two parties a new fence is due to be installed to help allay their fears.

Mac McDonald, 65, whose garden shares the hedge with the surgery contacted the Observer last week up in arms about the way it had been cut back.

He said: “It’s not a hedge anymore, it is just sticks. It has left gaping holes and opened up our gardens. One of the ladies who lives here left her lights on all night – she has been burgled before and is petrified it is going to happen again.”

Mr McDonald had complained to Hastings Borough Council because he lives is a conservation area, but HBC spokesman Lucy Downham said that hedges are not covered in the legislation, and the council’s tree expert had been up to the site and seen no breaches of the rules.

But Mr McDonald added: “We used to look after the wildlife – there was a colony of about 30 or 40 sparrows which used to use the hedge and they have all gone.”

Paul Cooper, of the vet, said the surgery’s gardeners had been cutting the hedge back for years to allow access to the lane which runs next to the practice.

“It had got to the point though where if you were driving in from the west you couldn’t see anyone coming out either by car or on foot so we had it cut back a bit further.

“We had done it before and it was no problem but we discovered this time the neighbours had cut their sides back too and the combination opened up the gardens.

“It was not our intention to do anything nasty – we have met with them and listened to their concerns. They asked for a mesh fence to be put up to help their security which we agreed to instantly.”