PENDLE Council have been accused of 'butchering months of volunteers work' after they cut down hedgerows and flowers in a park.
Shocked members of the Philip Wright Bowling Club witnessed Pendle Council employed contractors in Alkincoats Park, Colne, cut down and chip up hedgerows, shrubs and flowers on Wednesday.
The council claim they have acted to combat anti-social behaviour as youths use the hedges to screen their activities.
The bowling club is named in tribute to Philip Wright, a 25-year-old father-of-two who died along with pals Jessica Foxley and Tom Petty in a car accident in 2009.
Since 2014, with the support of Colne Town Council, the club have nurtured the area close to the pavilion in Alkincoats, bringing one green to match standard and creating another.
In addition, volunteers from the 50-strong group have spent countless hours improving the park, trimming hedgerows and planting shrubs and flowers.
The contractors removed two areas of hedge.
Victoria Wright, 28, Philip's sister, said: "I was shocked, very upset and close to tears when I saw what they were doing.
"They gave no notice and have literally torn apart work which took hours and hours or dedication by many volunteers."
Councillor Joe Cooney, who represents the area on Pendle Council, said he too was at a loss as to why the work was required.
He said: "This is local authority incompetence at it's worst.
"I am furious with Pendle Council butchering months of volunteers' work without any consultation whatsoever.
"Not only did the hedges and flowers look nice, they provided a natural sound barrier from that area of the park to nearby residents on Barcroft Street.
"Young people gather there, not necessarily being anti-social but sometimes they can be a bit noisy.
"The work of the Philip Wright club has been exemplary.
"And how are they rewarded? With this act of vandalism of their work."
Pendle Council's corporate director, Philip Mousdale, said: “The area surrounding the pavilion and bowling greens has been an issue with anti-social behaviour for some time, which has been a concern to local residents and park users.
“We’ve had numerous calls to improve the area in a bid to alleviate the problems, which have included vandalism, attempted arson and gluing of the pavilion locks.
“The hedge acts as a screen for troublemakers.
"At first we tried lowering its height but this didn’t work and unfortunately the anti-social problems continued.
“The next step was to remove it altogether so that it is more open and much easier to see what’s going on down there.
"The area will be soiled and seeded and we intend to put in a bedding plants border near where the Bowling Academy have done a great job of putting in plants and shrubs off their own back.
"We are sorry that the hedge’s removal has caused some upset.
"But the priority has to be protecting the park from vandalism and anti-social behaviour so that people of all ages can enjoy it.
"However in view of the comments we have temporarily suspended work while we speak with those concerned."