A writer and wildlife enthusiast was left close to tears by what she said was the ‘untimely and brutal’ pollarding of ancient lime trees in her road.
Jennifer Pulling said the six or seven trees that line Queens Place, Shoreham, were ‘beautiful, full of leaves and really healthy looking’ before their branches were removed by county council contractors three weeks ago.
She said: “The sight of those lime trees is enough to make you weep. They look awful.”
Mrs Pulling had tried to prevent the pollarding, which she said should not take place during the summer when the foliage provides ‘a haven for young birds and myriad insects’.
“All we asked for was a delay until the autumn and leaf fall,” she said.
“I understand they have to be kept under control. But it should be done at the right time of year.”
Ms Pulling, who has lived with her cat Sheba in the road for 15 years, admitted the trees had needed some work.
She said: “There was a lot of leaf growth at the base that people were grumbling about. They had got very bushy and were obstructing windows.
“But they should have kept it under control over the years, instead of doing this.”
Losing the trees would also have an effect on air quality, she said, adding: “At a time when Shoreham is experiencing high levels of air pollution, leafy trees are even more important.”
According to the Royal Horticultural Society, the best time for pollarding trees and shrubs is in the late winter or early spring.
A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said the trees were pollarded as part of a regular maintenance cycle carried out in the winter or summer months.
“The trees are inspected regularly by a qualified arboriculturist,” the spokesman said.
“Pollarding works are not at all unusual and will not have an adverse effect upon the trees.
“Each tree was carefully checked for any bird’s nests beforehand and none were found.”