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Bewdley Town Council

End in sight for Bewdley hedgerow dispute

By Town Clerk's Office Bewdley Town Council

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

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From Kidderminster Shuttle

A ROW between residents and a military charity over a protected Bewdley hedgerow has been resolved after it was taken over by new owners.

Two businessmen, who have declined to be named, have struck a deal with Forces Support Ltd and acquired the ancient Longbank Orchard, just off the A456.

Delighted resident Matt Skelton, who set up a Save Longbank Orchard Facebook campaign, said the deal means the threat of further development has gone and it will be returned to its former glory.

He added several businesses from around the district have stepped forward to help with the restoration of the Orchard.

Last year, residents in the area were left furious when Forces Support removed a protected hedgerow from the area without relevant permission - prompting Wyre Forest District Council to serve a Hedgerow Replacement Notice on the charity.

At the public meeting, Forces Support chairman Bill McCance apologised for removing the hedgerow and assured residents that it would be replanted.

Mr Skelton said the ‘eyesore’ metal fencing that had previously been erected had been replaced with a new wooden post and rail fence donated by Clows Top firm M&M Timber.

He also revealed Farlow Farm nurseries, from Cleobury Mortimer, will bring the hedge up to standard while Kidderminster company Hire-it has loaned machinery to help clear the site ready for replanting the orchard.

Mr Skelton also said Natural England will help re-plant fruit trees that are also in the area.

He said: “One of the new owners said they were delighted to be able to rescue the orchard and would like to thank all the residents who fought so hard for this to happen and for the support of councillors Stephen Clee and Derek Killingworth (Bewdley Town Council), Wyre Forest District Council planning and enforcement team and Mark Garnier MP.

“We would also like offer a special thanks to Mr Ray Hall, a former Trustee of Forces Support Ltd, who was instrumental in brokering the deal.

“We look forward to the future when the Orchard will hopefully flourish again."

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