Council delays over Bury St Edmunds hedge spill into bird nesting season

Westley Road resident Ed Smith
Westley Road resident Ed Smith

A resident’s confidence in the council is falling, along with a nearby hedgerow, after uncertainty over its ownership caused lengthy delays with maintenance.

Ed Smith has been asking the council to tend to a collapsing hedgerow between Westley Road and Starre Road, Bury St Edmunds, for months.

He says the ‘top heavy’ nature of the ‘poorly maintained’ hedgerow is causing it to blow over, with sections leaning into a public footpath.

He was keen to see it cut back before the start of the bird nesting season, but says ‘buck-passing’ and ‘mysterious’ land ownership issues have caused delays, with the council now saying nothing can be done to it until the autumn.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “The west area office is currently working with St Edmundsbury Borough Council to determine the owner and open discussion about some planned maintenance to this hedge after the bird nesting season, likely to be early autumn.

“In the intervening time we will ensure that any growth that falls across the footway is cleared to keep the footway safe for use.”

Mr Smith said: “The question remains: why wasn’t action taken prior to the bird nesting season? My initial enquiry was submitted in the winter, long before March 31, which is the close of hedgerow cutting.

“Even more to the point, if this hedgerow had received the appropriate regular maintenance – as the adjacent hedgerow abutting the highway – then the need for my request for long overdue care and maintenance of it should never have arisen in the first pace.”

He added that safety maintenance could be undertaken, if necessary, any time during nesting season and was, in his opinion, needed in this case.