Residents in Pound Hill are furious as contractors literally “ripped up” an ancient woodland site behind their houses yesterday.
Burleys Wood has been left devastated as contractors descended with lorries and a digger before felling a huge area of the woodland. The full extent of the devastation left is bewildering as our photos show.
Despite a preservation order being issued the damage caused by the work looks irreparable.
“I cant believe that someone so callous can do something like this, then walk away as if nothing has happened“
One resident, Paul Schauerman explained what he saw:
“There was large low loader parked outside our house, I didn’t think anything of it as there was another one further up the road but when I came round the house there was a huge digger coming off a lorry.
A little later I looked out the window and noticed the digger coming down between our house and our neighbours.
I rushed out to speak to them and they said there was an extension being built at the other end of the terrace house and when I asked why are coming this way and they said we cannot get in the other end.”
“When i came back just after lunch virtually all the woods had disappeared, so I got onto the council and they said they didn’t know anything about it but there are people from the council down there.
I eventually saw council people there taking photos but they told me they didn’t know what was going on as they said there was no planning permission given. At this point they were still working and when asked the council people said the only thing they could do was tell them to stop and go away which is what they finally did but it was too late.
The contractors had huge mats to go over the land to try to stop churning up the ground but it did nothing and now it looks like a tank course.”
“I don’t want to be causing upset”
CN24 spoke to the contractor to explain their actions.
The owner who asked not to be named explained that he was confused and even said:
“I don’t want to be causing upset.”
He explained that their services had been hired and when he asked his client if they were allowed to do the work he was told no felling license was required.
He explained that the job had been to clear some Silver Birch Trees but not to touch a couple of large trees that had preservation orders on them.
He also said that they had been given a clearly defined line and were to stop outside the canopy of the TPO trees. The area to clear was about 30-35 metres.
The contractor was clearly anxious about what had happened adding, “we just hire out equipment.”
This morning (15th Feb) a planning application was received for housing to be built on the site. Read about this here.
Crawley Council have said that they are investigating the situation urgently and will update people as soon as they can.
When asked how he felt about what had happened Mr Schauerman said:
“Horror, I feel raped, I know it’s an easy thing to say but its a nice area with the woods and with all the privacy, and all of a sudden its just gone.
I cant believe that someone so callous can do something like this, then walk away as if nothing has happened.
My wife spoke to the Forestry Commission but the man responsible for the area is on holiday but they were shocked.
There’s even a lady whos house is up for sale and they are in danger of losing the sale as the buyers loved the view.
All the neighbours are up in arms about it.”
With the council and now the Forestry commission investigating it will not be long before answers to much sought after questions come to light, but in the meantime Pound Hill has been left with a barren mud plain where beautiful ancient woodland once lay.
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