A KENDAL resident has described efforts to coppice woodland next to his house as “a mess”.

But Kendal town councillor Tom Clare has defended the work, saying the land will stay as it is until spring so that it can provide a wildlife habitat.

Chris Walker, who lives on Dunmail Drive, next to a public footpath and Heron Hill Wood, started having problems with the woodland around three years ago.

He alerted councillors because the area ‘was looking seriously unkempt’ and was attracting anti-social behaviour.

Mr Walker, 63, says Cumbria County Council put up a fence when the site became a conservation site, and last year volunteers from Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers came to clear rubbish.

He added that a ‘terrific job’ was done to get rid of litter.

But this year Natural England decided to coppice the woodland because elm trees were getting too high.

Mr Walker said: “My understanding of coppicing is not what they have done.

“They have devastated the area and left it in a mess.

"It looks even worse than it did when we started this process three years ago.”

Mr Walker received a letter from Coun Clare which said that the situation would be reviewed in spring to see how wildlife was developing at the site and whether new plant-life was required.

The letter states: “One of the principle issues you expressed concern about is how unsightly everything looks, but this is often the case immediately after such work – indeed, Natural England often get similar complaints from residents living near to sites where they carry out similar operations.”

Coun Clare told the Westmorland Gazette: “It’s part and parcel of woodland conservation.

"This is standard procedure – this is just part of the process, unfortunately.”