Concern was raised on social media last week, when photos were shared of ten willow trees in the Isle of Wight council’s overspill car park in Yaverland that had been severely cut back.
Sandown’s Isle of Wight councillor Ian Ward posted on Sandown Hub that he’d checked with the relevant department and stated the work had not been authorised or carried out by the council or its contractors.
As Island Roads had also told members of the public they knew nothing about the trees being cut back, OnTheWight got in touch with the council to find out what had happened.
Work agreed by council
A spokesperson for the Isle of Wight council told OnTheWight,
“A hedge of willow trees was recently cut back near Yaverland Car Park. The hedge is on council land and the work was done with the permission of the Isle of Wight Council.
“The work was done by a local contractor who undertook the work at his own expense following an agreement to do this work being made in November 2018. It was done to industry standards and by qualified workers.”
No nests disturbed
The spokesperson added that although the work was carried out during nesting season, no breeding birds were disturbed by the work,
“The trees were checked for active birds’ nests by a competent person before any work took place, and the council can confirm that no nests were found and no breeding birds were disturbed by the work.”
IWC: Would have done to same too anyway
The spokesperson went on to say,
“The hedgerow has been coppiced similarly in the past, and, being made of willow trees, will grow back fully. The hedge needs regular cutting back every ten years or so to stop it from growing into full-sized trees.
“Although the work was undertaken voluntarily by a local person, regular management of this hedge is needed to keep it as a feature in the Yaverland landscape for the benefit of wildlife and people, so the work would have been undertaken by the council in due course in any event.”
Update: Proof of permission
Since publishing the above report, some Islanders have asked to see proof that permission had been granted, OnTheWight asked the Isle of Wight council for a copy of the approval this morning.
A spokesperson for the IWC replied this afternoon,
“The text of the email that gave consent is below, with the personal details redacted.
“This followed a telephone conversation in which the exact details of the work were discussed, but no other record of that conversation was made by us.”
The email reads:
From: Matthews, Lee
Sent: 07 November 2018 14:00
Subject: Yaverland Car park Hedging
As discussed with the Isle of Wight Council Parks Dept we give full approval for you to cut the hedge back along the stretch of Yaverland Rd/carpark.
Many thanks for this kind offer
Lee Matthews| Recreation and Open Spaces Manager
Directorate of Neighbourhoods| Isle of Wight Council |County Hall | Newport |Isle of Wight PO30 1UD
Tel: (01983) 821000 Ext: 8735| Email: [email protected] |
The question of whether the hedge on the roadside is what permission was given for has also been raised.
The spokesperson for the IWC told OnTheWight,
“All the work was undertaken with the permission of the council and the whole of the job was agreed in November. It included both works to the roadside hedge and the willow hedge behind.
“The work was done in two stages, with the roadside hedge being done first, and the willow hedge later. The council did not agree a particular timetable for the works and the timing was left to be decided by those undertaking the work.”
15.33: Update added from IWC with proof of approval
16.28: Update added from IWC about roadside hedge
Images: © Kate Barton