RESIDENTS are anxious about the extent of tree felling in Hartlebury Common.

Cliff Day, of Willowdene, Stourport, said that even mature oak and silver birch trees were being felled in areas of the common.

He is concerned that Worcestershire County Council is not being open about its plans and that much more felling is to be expected.

Mr Day said many kinds of animal and bird life could be affected, including foxes and badgers and woodpeckers, jays, treecreepers, nuthatches, blue tits and great tits.

He claimed that the council’s plans would see the area “lose a lot and gain a little” and that people’s enjoyment of the common would be severely affected.

Mr Day, 72, a retired clerk of works in the construction industry, said: “ We don’t know the extent of what they are going to do. They have kept it under their hats.”

He added: “It is important to preserve it [this habitat] for future generations. Once these trees have gone that’s it.”

A county council spokesman said: "Hartlebury Common is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), comprising a mix of lowland heathland and scrub, small areas of wet bog and ponds with some woodland.

"Natural England considers the Common to be in need of restoration and as such the Council has begun a 10 year improvement plan which is funded by Natural England through the Higher Level Stewardship grant.

"In order to restore the heathland as prescribed by Natural England, trees and scrub have to be controlled which will see trees removed and gorse cut on the upper and lower terrace areas.

“Grazing has been specified as the principal management tool for the continued maintenance of the site with boundary fencing and gates around the common and a cattle grid onto Wilden Top car park installed."

He added: "The restoration work began in October 2010 following a lengthy planning process and a public inquiry in July 2009, which resulted in permission to fence the common being granted by the Planning Inspectorate.”

More information about the scheme can be found at Residents concerned about the changes can attend a meeting at The Bay Horse Inn, Hartlebury Road, Stourport, today at 7.30pm.