Call for Ampthill Park works to be halted

Ampthill Park.
Ampthill Park.

A keen bird watcher is calling for controversial works at Ampthill Park to be halted and says people should have been consulted before trees were ripped out .

Work started this month to clear parts of the historic park to restore it to its original Capability Brown Design using Lottery funding.

But the extent of the tree removal has come as a surprise to some park users and neighbours.

Amateur ornithologist Philip Whiteley, who lives in the town, said: “I can report that the area that the council has just destroyed used to be rich in bird life, including warblers such as blackcap and whitethroat, as well as the more common birds of park and garden.

“The fact that it was semi-wild and not planned by Capability Brown was precisely the reason why it used to be the favourite part of the park for many of us – birds and humans alike.”

The five year project, costing £606,800, is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and has been championed by Ampthill Town Council as improving the park for people and wildlife.

But furious residents have taken to social media to slam the works and have even accused council contractors of ‘raping’ the famous park.

Mr Whiteley has sent a string of questions to the town council quizzing them on what consultations have been carried out before removing the trees and whether a census of nesting birds in spring 2015 was carried out to evaluate and monitor the environmental impact of the changes.

The council’s park development manager was not available to comment.