Anger at plans to fell hundreds of trees along village road

Farmer Michael Keeler at Spratts Green where thousands of pounds worth of hedge has been stolen from

Michael Keeler, who has applied to remove 333 trees from alongside his field in Stratton Strawless. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Plans to fell more than 300 trees alongside a village's main road have been met with criticism from neighbours.

However, the landowners insist their removal will prevent accidents on the road and help to kerb antisocial behaviour and fly-tipping.

The Keeler family, which owns fields neighbouring Shortthorn Road in Stratton Strawless, has applied to the Forestry Commission for a licence to take down 333 trees that run alongside the road.

The bid would see all but 11 of the trees alongside the road removed and new ones planted to replace them.

However, the application has been met with objections from neighbours and calls to not go ahead with the felling - which have been echoed by Dan Roper, the Liberal Democrat county councillor who represents the village.

Liberal Democrat councillor Dan Roper, who has objected to the removal of 333 trees in Stratton Strawless

Liberal Democrat councillor Dan Roper, who has objected to the removal of 333 trees in Stratton Strawless - Credit: Dan Roper

He said: "The loss of these trees and hedging will massively change the character of Shortthorn Road. It will also leave the highway exposed to the elements.

"On the field where trees were previously removed, there have been issues in high winds and the land not being as effective as a soakaway."

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And one villager said they would be willing to chain themselves to one of the trees if it meant the work could not go ahead.

However, Michael Keeler, who in December saw 320m of hedging stolen from one of his other fields, said the family would be replanting across a greater area than the one they are removing from - albeit not in the same location.

The plans to fell more than 300 trees in Stratton Strawless have sparked objections.

The plans to fell more than 300 trees in Stratton Strawless have sparked objections. - Credit: Google

He said: "The trees have never been managed properly and many have been severely damaged by barbed wire that has grown intro the trees.

"We regularly deal with dead trees and branches falling onto the road and hear of vehicle wing mirrors being broken.

"We have also noticed our tree line has become a local dumping ground for garden refuse - this is anti-social behaviour by people who obviously see this land as wasteland.

"In respect of our environmental values, we will retain 11 of the larger and older trees - all oaks.

"As farmers, we are always trying to encourage wildlife and it is a massive part of what we do."