Rail bosses are investigating after a group of townhouse residents chopped down rail line trees to improve their view – only to spark a row with those on the opposite side.
Residents of a street, in trendy Montpelier in Bristol, hired a tree surgeon and cut down dozens of trees along a railway line to give them a better view and allow more light into their rear gardens.
Furious homeowners living opposite have been left shocked and claimed they’d left a ‘scene of absolute devastation’.
Network Rail said residents did not have permission to chop down the trees, which sit on a hill behind their back gardens, overlooking the railway track.
Residents of a street, in trendy Montpelier in Bristol, hired a tree surgeon and cut down dozens of trees along a railway line
Network Rail insisted the residents of Cromwell Road did not have permission to send the tree surgeon company onto the embankment next to Montpelier station
The residents on Cromwell Road are understood to have been asking Network Rail to cut down the trees for years, but having had no success, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
Around 10 residents on the road are believed to have chipped in for the tree surgeon.
It was organised by landscape gardener Jonty Cutting who claimed he obtained permission from Network Rail for the work.
He told the Bristol Post: ‘I don’t want to say too much about this…but we did have permission from Network Rail.’
But Network Rail insisted they hadn’t given the green light for the tree felling.
A spokesman said: ‘We did not give permission for the recent de-vegetation work in Montpelier to be carried out.
‘Safety is our priority and nobody is permitted to access the railway unless they have the proper permission.
‘We are currently investigating this matter.’
If authorised, such work normally requires health and safety plans, supervision from Network Rail to ensure the safe passage of trains is not compromised and, potentially, the stopping or slowing of trains on the line.
The residents on Cromwell Road are understood to have been asking Network Rail to cut down the trees for years, but having had no success, they decided to take matters into their own hands
Around 10 residents on the road are believed to have chipped in for the tree surgeon
This picture shows where the trees were felled after residents hired a tree surgeon
The wooded embankment is also home to badgers, a colony of bats and helps prevent landslips on the steep embankment down to the railway line.
Those living on the other side of the railway, on St Andrew’s Road, are furious by the tree cutting.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘It looks like a scene of absolute devastation. We knew nothing about this – they never asked us about it.
‘When we first saw workmen cutting down the trees we were obviously upset, especially when they began cutting all of them down.
‘But we never imagined they didn’t have permission to do it.’
They added: ‘It’s bitterly ironic that they did it to improve their views but have left us on the other side with a view of total devastation.’
This was the view from Cromwell Road prior to the trees being cut down last week
Before the trees were cut down residents had their view over the city blocked (pictured)
This was the view from Cromwell Road, in Montpelier, after the trees had been felled
One resident of St Andrew’s Road reportedly knocked on the houses on Cromwell Road pleading with them to stop the work.
Another resident said: ‘They have been asking Network Rail for years to chop those trees down and Network Rail kept saying no, and they’ve gone and done it without permission – it’s appalling.
‘The worst thing for me is the wildlife that’s going to be affected. There’s badgers living down there, bats in the trees, it’s all going to be badly hit by this.’
Local resident and former councillor Christian Martin said he had been in contact with Network Rail.
He said: ‘They said they are going to have to send a work team out to clear up, as there are logs threatening to roll onto the track.
‘They will have to remove stumps that won’t grow back and they said they would be seeking to recover the costs from the Cromwell Road residents – which are estimated to be between £25,000 and £30,000.’