Blocked drains and water build-up caused by removal of more than 1,000 trees in Ampthill says councillor

The work has been carried out to a “poor standard” – and with no consultation, he said
The view now the trees have been felled. Picture supplied by Cllr Steve AddyThe view now the trees have been felled. Picture supplied by Cllr Steve Addy
The view now the trees have been felled. Picture supplied by Cllr Steve Addy

Blocked roadside drains and excess water accumulating are two outcomes from the removal of more than 1,000 trees by the A507 on the outskirts of Ampthill, according to a local councillor.

Ditches have been dug too deep, which led to some nearby trees leaning over in recent strong winds, as their roots have been weakened, said Ampthill town councillor and Ampthill Heights Residents’ Association member Steve Addy.

He plans to update a meeting of Central Bedfordshire Council’s sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee tonight (Tuesday, March 5).

A decision by CBC to fell 1,100 trees opposite Ampthill Heights has left residents with a view of a blue industrial estate boundary fence, which has been daubed with graffiti now.

Councillor Addy suggested that had the drains been cleared and unblocked first, there would have been no need for the trees to be chopped down.

A fence on Ampthill Heights has yet to be repaired, so a temporary one is the only obstacle between the nearby park and the water which has collected in a ditch below.

He highlighted the £200,000 project going ahead just as “council tax is increased and services reduced”.

Independent CBC Sandy councillor and executive member for highways Simon Ford apologised at a previous meeting of the committee in January.

“We appreciate the frustration felt by residents,” he said at the time. “We’re considering what mitigation measures might be possible to offset the visual impact of removing the trees, and continue to liaise with ward and town councillors.

“I’ll apologise to residents and councillors about the lack of details in our early communications. But the felling works were for safety reasons to stop trees falling on to the road, and to protect the highway network from flood damage and subsidence.

“The trees in question weren’t well established and developed naturally over the years on the side of a drainage ditch. They were unstable, with a risk of falling.

“There’s been a programme of planting in the locality to maximise tree numbers, during the last few years. All these works are in compliance with the relevant legislation afforded the council as highways authority.”

Councillor Addy confirmed no response has been received to questions he and his town council colleague Ian Titman asked at the same meeting.

“The work has been completed to a poor standard, with many areas still needing repairs” added councillor Addy. “There has been no mitigation plan proposed for this area to recover the impact and no consultation with local residents.”

At the previous committee meeting, councillor Addy explained he was “representing 500 residents impacted by the excessive and brutal tree felling work currently ongoing by the A507” at the edge of the town.

“The removal of these trees has changed the vista for many residents from an established mature tree-lined road to one of destruction and desolation. The town council and ward councillors were unaware. Nobody knew this was planned.”