ANGER is rising among York residents over a controversial programme of hedgerow removal.

City of York Council claims the removal of greenery in areas such as Hull Road, Alcuin Avenue, Holgate and Bootham is intended to open up views to residents, but many are accusing it of ruining the natural look of the areas.

The Green group leader, Coun Andy D’Agorne, described the uprooting as “bio-warfare”.

He said: “It is clearly a strategy not only to open up visibility into parks so that they can be left unlocked at night in future, but also to remove the cost of cutting greenery back once or twice a year.”

Steven Austin, a resident of Alcuin Avenue, said: “It is my understanding that this hedgerow is to be replaced with metal plating, an obvious graffiti target. I, and fellow residents that I’ve spoken to, am highly concerned over this plan for a number of reasons.”

He said the hedgerows were a home to wildlife and that taxpayers’ money was being “squandered”.

Yesterday, work began to remove the rest of the hedges in Hull Road Park. The work was stopped temporarily after The Press reported on local anger over the work.

However, the council said the work would commence in spite of the concerns of residents and councillors raised at a meeting of the leisure and culture committee on Wednesday.

Coun Dave Taylor said: “Instead of listening to these voices calling for a moratorium on the ‘hedgemageddon’ until local residents could be asked their opinion, the council has stepped up the work and is ripping out the hedge along Alcuin Avenue as we speak.”

Sally Burns, director of communities and neighbourhoods at the city council, said: “We have resumed routine work to complete landscaping improvements, similar to others successfully carried out around the city, which open up views into attractive parks and green spaces.

“This particular programme also includes involving residents in the council’s long-term development and investment plans for Hull Road Park, such as sustainable planting schemes, playground improvements, expanding the role of user groups and achieving Green Flag status, which can bring new opportunities for grant funding.”