Wildlife fears after roundabout cleared
NOW you see don’t.
These two startling pictures show what a difference chainsaws and a few hours have made to the vegetation at the Drovers roundabout.
On Tuesday morning the roundabout’s iconic cow sculptures were hidden away behind bushes but later the same day they were all that was left standing after workmen stripped away all the trees and undergrowth on the roundabout.
Nearby residents are furious over the “devastation” of trees and wildlife making way for road widening and waterpipe projects at the Drovers roundabout, the nearby M20 junction 9 roundabout and other roads in the area.
Despite earlier protests to Ashford Borough Council over the proposed widening scheme by Kent Highways, tree cutting has gone ahead, leaving whole swathes stripped of vegetation.
All that remains of the once
it... now you rich greenery are piles of chopped up tree trunks, neatly stacked up as log piles while waiting to be removed.
Jenny Horton, who lives in Meadow Road, near the Drovers roundabout said: “The clearance has been excessive. It’s horrendous.
“You look from your window and all that relaxing greenery has gone, now all we have is a busy road scene full of congested traffic.
“What effect this is having on wildlife there I can’t begin to imagine.”
Some 51 residents from Meadow Road recently sent in a petition to Ashford council protesting that road noise levels would rise as the greenery provided a barrier between the road and their houses.
Residents in Maidstone Road, which leads off from the roundabout, are also angry.
Jason Hamilton, 38, an engineer, said: “If you look out of the window now the carriageway looks like a motorway. I would drop my three-year-old daughter Milan off to nursery and she used to get excited looking out for the rabbits, now you don’t see them any more.
“Driving is also a nightmare in this area. All the roadworks have slowed everything down. It used to take me five minutes to get to Eureka Park and now it takes at least 20 minutes.”
Blerina Shehaj, 30, a nursery nurse, said: “You look out and everything looks empty. Trees have disappeared and all we have is concrete roads. My oldest child keeps asking me ‘mummy, where have all the trees gone?’.”
As fury mounts a KCC spokesman sought to allay fears over the disappearing greenery, prom- ising it would be replaced.
“Primarily the trees are being removed to accommodate the widening of the existing carriageway, and to enable works to be carried out.
“A full replacement scheme of landscaping is proposed and detailed designs for this are being prepared. They will be introduced upon completion of the roadworks.
“Additionally Drovers roundabout is also due to be cleared and replanted with a new landscaping scheme.”
Despite reassurances that the greenery will ‘return’ residents are concerned for wildlife, including rabbits often seen at the junction 9 roundabout.
Janet Halliburton, from Ashford, said: “Who allowed this to happen when the birds are nesting and in some cases have chicks in their nests? This is a disgusting way to behave when the wildlife has had a tough winter and now man is destroying their habitat.
“I do hope the planners can sleep at night.
“A child of four could tell you that birds are nesting at this time of year. Last night on my way home I observed three magpies sitting on the chopped up trees.”
A KCC spokesman said: “If we come across rabbits during construction, they will be treated with care.”
Ashford’s Future says that without the “improvements” traffic growth would increase the town’s existing problems.
“The work will mean no further changes should be needed for at least 20 years,” said a spokesman.
CAMPAIGNERS worried about the loss of the cow sculptures on the Drovers roundabout have set up a Facebook group.
The social networking site’s page, Save the Cows on the Cow roundabout, has members suggesting they chain themselves to the cows to stop their removal. However it has already been announced by council leader Paul Clokie that the sculptures would be spared when improvement work began. They will, however, have to be placed in a different position.
What do you think? Write to Kentish Express, 34-36 North Street, Ashford, Kent TN24 8JR, email kentishexpress@ thekmgroup.co.uk or call our newsroom on 01233 623232.
Trees and vegetation turned to stumps at the roundabout