Amble residents furious after council remove decades-old bushes due to safety concerns

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Northumberland County Council has come under fire after bushes on a patch of green space in Amble were removed due to safety concerns.

Residents say the shrubs on St Cuthbert’s Field on Ivy Street had been planted decades ago and acted as a home for many small birds.

But the council say there had been complaints about the plants and there was concern children could be hurt by the thorns.

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Gillian Barclay, who has lived on Ivy Street for 30 years, said: “The council said somebody has complained, but nobody was informed about them taking the bushes down. They’ve been up for years and years and all of a sudden they’ve decided to cut them down.

St Cuthbert's Field in Amble before and after bushes were cut down.St Cuthbert's Field in Amble before and after bushes were cut down.
St Cuthbert's Field in Amble before and after bushes were cut down.

“The old people here used to love watching the birds in the trees. The council used to cut the bushes down once a year, so we think it is down to money.

“At the end of the day, they could have informed the residents. It looks ridiculous, it is hideous now. They go on about conservation for wildlife and then they cut this down – I’m fuming.”

Mrs Barclay explained that the bushes were planted around 20 years ago to stop youngsters playing football in the field after windows were broken. She now fears that the practice could start again.

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Her neighbour, Robin Lewsey, was also dismayed: “It’s appalling. I just think in a day and age when we treasure anything that is growing, it just seems odd. It was used by sparrows for nesting as well and they are threatened now.

“The council said they had received complaints, but we never could get to the bottom of them. We think they didn’t want the cost of maintaining it.

“We managed to save the tree, because originally they intended to cut the tree down as well. That’s a bit of a gain.”

A council spokesperson said: “The work was carried out for safety reasons following an estate walkabout with partners looking at improvements in the area.

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Representatives from the town and county council, police and local residents joined the walkabout and three areas in Amble were highlighted – St Cuthbert’s, Redesdale and Ivy Street – following a number of complaints from residents about the shrub beds and concerns children were being hurt from the thorns there.”