Published: 10:09, 17 May 2019
| Updated: 12:29, 17 May 2019
Holiday park owners are being accused of "destroying the countryside" after digging up a large hedgerow.
But the firm developing Spill Land Farm Country Park off Benenden Road in Biddenden insists that its work will deliver "positive improvements".
Digging began unexpectedly at the site owned by Monte Carlo Parks, angering neighbours, with one saying he was only alerted to the work by the "beep-beep sound of machinery in operation".
The mature hedgerow was removed from the boundary of Tony Fleck's farm, who accused the holiday home firm of "destroying the countryside to put in luxury lodges".
He said: "They didn't just chop it back, they dug the whole hedgerow out and it's where birds nest."
The RSPB advises that hedges and trees are not cut between March and August, the main breeding season for nesting birds, which are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
The hedgerow was on the border of Mr Fleck's farm at Woolpack Corner, Biddenden, and he claims that it forms part of his land.
Mr Fleck, who owns Kent Turkeys, claims no one from the holiday park asked his permission or consulted him about the hedgerow before removing it.
He was on holiday when the work took place and only found out about it when a neighbour called him.
The neighbour, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "I was awoken by the beep-beep sound of machinery in operation when the hedgerow was being removed. I saw trees [on the park site] chopped down and burnt."
Spill Land Farm country park, which has a used holiday home for sale on its website for £275,000, is being developed by Monte Carlo Parks who took ownership of the 11-acre site on January 31. The firm has embarked on the first phase of construction, involving 28 lodges.
Its spokesman Louise Latchford said that Monte Carlo Parks takes its "social responsibility seriously" and intended to replant the hedgerow.
She said: "We are sorry to hear that there are concerns from the local community of Biddenden regarding the development of Spill Lands Farm country park. Up until this point, we had not received any reports or had any issues raised at the park and would have dealt with these as an utmost priority.
"We can confirm that all hedgerow and fencing which sit within our boundary lines are being improved with brand new stock fencing and newly planted native hedges in line with our planning conditions."
She added: "The park is set to bring jobs to the local area and holidaymakers to the community to better improve the economy and tourism.
"We ask the community to bear with us whilst undergoing site works, as we are committed to preserving the local environment and our promise to make positive improvements by the end of the development in its entirety."
A police spokesman said that a complaint had been received about the destruction of the hedge and the force was investigating.
Complaints have also been made to Ashford Borough Council and a spokesman said: “We are aware of the alleged development including the removal of hedgerows and are currently investigating the matter.”
More by this authorRachael Woods