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The Planning Department has given President Estates Farms permission to rip out several mature hedges in order to “promote farming efficiency, discourage poaching and provide nature corridors”.

Granted on May 13th, it is reported that some of the hedges have already disappeared. Both the County Archaeologist and Ecologists submitted critical comments about the scheme.

The Scheme, which legislation to protect hedgerows is designed to discourage, includes plans to plant hedges elsewhere to replace them – though this will result in a net loss of hedges to the local scene, and will take many years to replace the habitats and landscape value which has been destroyed.

Lowick Parish Council, in whose area [map shows the extent] a proportion of the hedges lie, was not consulted by the Planning Department, though it has a statutory right to give its views.

Tillside Parish Council, the other body affected, expressed no opposition to the plans, although they clearly have a large impact on the environment.

Those wishing to view the documents submitted should use the Planning Shortcut on Lowick Live hand enter reference 20/00534/HGRMN. 

Meanwhile, considerable local opposition has been voiced, and our MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan herself has written to the Planning Department demanding to know why the decision was taken, and why our Parish Council was not consulted.

The map shows the hedges effected between Holburn and The Roman Road. One passes a bronze age site and a former Roman camp. Eagle eyed observers will note one new hedge along the road by Percy’s Well Strip and Oxclose strip actually replaces a hedge and fence that was removed a few years ago by the same owner. If this was done lawfully, we would not know, because NCC does not ask us about President Farms Hedges – at the moment.

The picture, taken today shows the hedge west of Laverock Law. It contains several mature trees, as well as hedges, and looks stunning.




    Lowick Live responded:
    May 22, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    I find it unbelievable that in 2020 I’m having to report that approx. 5km (3mls) of hedgerows – which are likely to be centuries old – are to be removed to make way for the covenience of large agricultural machinery, at the expense of a huge amount of bio-diverse wildlife habitat/refuge.

    After 10yrs of ownership, why the sudden change? The machinery hasn’t increased appreciably in size in this time.

    Not only is this a crime against conservation, but these types of hedgerows are a distinct characteristic of this part of rural Northumberland and therefore it is a crime against our local landscape heritage. One of the hedges marked for removal, near Laverock Law, has an edge of field public right of way alongside it, this would become yet another boring footpath running through a large, predominantly monoculture, prairie-like field, only clearly visible if the landower spray marks it.

    There is new hedging proposed in this application (3 km, a large portion adjacent to a road) but as we know this takes at least 15 yrs before it is established, and in my opinion this is in no way compensates for the loss – also there is no proposal for a phased removal programme (over a number of years) which would have lessened the impact.

    Holburn Resident


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