Holbeach housing scheme comes at cost of trees and wildlife, say enthusiasts
The removal of trees in an area of Holbeach popular with dog owners and ramblers has led to complaints about the loss of a beauty spot.
A range of trees, including ash, beech, lime, oak and silver birch, have been cut down on nearly 21 acres of land off Damgate, near the Holbeach/Fleet border.
Planning permission for 188 two, three, four and five-bedroom homes was given to King Bros (Butchers) Ltd, part of Spalding-based developers Ashwood Homes, was given by South Holland District Council in May 2017.
At the time, it was revealed that the total number of homes to be built had been lowered from 195 to 188 so that some of the trees could be saved.
But Simeon Floyd, of Fleet Road, Holbeach, said: "It's a shame that they cut down the trees when they did because there was plenty of wildlife round there.
"I walked past the area once or twice a day and it was always a place where you could see a lot of wildlife, including pheasants, pigeons and doves.
"The majority of trees felled were quite old, but some were new evergreens where you could see birds of prey.
"But there's quite a bit of devastation now and the wildlife has gone."
Another Holbeach resident, who asked not to be named, said: "I go down there regularly and it's devastating to see what used to be a beautiful, tree-lined walk become only a half tree-lined walk.
"The land is next to an old railway track and it's really popular with dog walkers and families.
"But now it looks dreadful and it's just really sad from a nature point of view."
Ashley King, owner and managing director of Ashwood Homes, said: "We are carrying out tree works before the bird nesting season starts in the spring to enable us to commence construction early next year.
"All of the works form part of the planning permission for 188 homes off Damgate and comply with the approved tree protection plan."
Ex-Holbeach and Fleet parish councillor Val Gemmell, who raised concerns that the new homes could mean the loss of the boundary between the town and village, said: "In 2017, I applied to have the area turned into a public right of way because I didn't want to see it disappear inside the development.
"Many families used it for recreational purposes because there's not much open space around the area.
"I used to walk my dog along there, but some of the people living there used to grumble about the state of the trees."
A statement from the developers at the time of the planning application said: "The loss of these trees would be mitigated through new tree planting, leading to a notable increase in the number of trees within the site."