Upset over work at Riddings woods site

Cllr Paul Smith at the site of the destroyed woodland.
Cllr Paul Smith at the site of the destroyed woodland.

Residents living near woods say they are livid after trees were removed from a woodland in Riddings.

Local Ann Bridgeford pledged to stand in front of diggers after trees and hedgerows were taken out on wood and scrubland at the rear of Bradshaw Avenue.

Bulldozers appeared on Monday, November 18, and bonfires have since been set to burn brush and wood on the six-acre site.

Mrs Bridgeford, 67, claimed: “It is dreadful. The trees needed pruning - but this is like cutting off an arm because it had a pimple.”

Mrs Bridgeford says she even told a digger driver to stop or she would walk in front of the machine’s wheels.

“If my husband hadn’t stopped me I would have done it,” she added.

Amber Valley Borough Council owns one 1.5-acre plot and Riddings Development Ltd, owned by Alvin Harper, owns the rest at the site . The council says it issued a licence to Riddings Development Ltd to clear away scrub and conduct test trial pits with a view to developing the land for housing. A spokesman said: “On November 20 an officer discovered that all vegetation on the Riddings Development Ltd-owned land, including well established trees, was being cleared by an excavator and fed onto a large bonfire. At the time of his visit the trees with Tree Preservation Orders had not been touched but those that had been removed were of value and could possibly have been retained in any future development of the site. It would appear, however, that protected trees have subsequently been damaged.”

The council is investigating the matter. Owner Alvin Harper, of Stourport-on-Severn, said: “There was a bonfire and a complaint was made so we stopped. I am not aware of any anger from residents. The field belongs to us and we’re not required to notify residents when we are cleaning our site.”