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Coulsdon tree felling delayed after residents spot nesting birds

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A DEVELOPER delayed plans to fell dozens of trees in Coulsdon after residents reported it to police on the grounds it would be breaking the law.

Affinity Sutton had started planned work this week felling conifers around its development at 408 Chipstead Valley Road, but stopped after residents said the trees contained nesting birds.

Destroying active nests is illegal, and the developer says it is now seeking "specialist advice" on whether nests are present before continuing.

Chipstead Valley Road resident Julie Hockham phoned Affinity and Croydon police as soon as she learnt work was about to start on the 40ft trees.

She said: "If they are going to do it then I accept that these trees are coming down, but do it outside the season. I mean, can you imagine how these birds must feel?

"They would have to wait until September now – they should have done it before."

Ian Scott, head of development at Affinity, said if birds were found to be nesting, the trees would not be removed until the nesting season was over.

He added: "They do need to be removed though as they are in poor condition and have a limited life expectancy, and will be replaced with new trees as well as hedging and fencing."

The in-progress development of 38 affordable homes was approved on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate in 2010, after Croydon Council said it would be too cramped.

Removing the trees around the site is also angering neighbours whose privacy and view they protected.

Woodstock Road resident Michelle Quarton said: "Because they have taken the trees down in the corner I can see right into the development and so I have got no privacy whatsoever."

Mrs Quarton added she had not received a letter warning that the work was about to start, and was shocked to see the contractor chopping down the tree on Monday morning.

She said: "I was milling away doing my housework and putting the washing up and went to let the dog out and I saw a bloke up the tree."

A spokesman for the developer said the trees will be replaced with "a variety" of others, which will grow to "between 3.5 and five metres in height". She did not specify a number.

She added: "This setting will provide an attractive landscape for the much-needed 38 new affordable homes that we are building there for local people."

A Croydon Council spokesman said the authority had visited the site and there were no breaches of planning permission.

PC Teri Lambie, Croydon borough wildlife crime officer said talks on the matter were continuing. She said: "We are speaking to both the local residents and the management company of the land concerned about this to ensure that no offences have or will be committed.

"However, if anyone has concerns about wildlife crime then please speak to your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team and they will be able to advise you on the issue or pass your inquiry on to myself or the Met's Wildlife Crime Unit."

Coulsdon tree felling delayed after residents spot nesting birds


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