Wild complaints over planting of ‘weeds’

A digger in Linslade Recreation Park
A digger in Linslade Recreation Park

A dispute has broken out between a Linslade business and the town council over attempts to plant wildflowers to help bees to thrive.

As part of the government’s pollinator strategy, Leighton-Linslade Town Council has committed itself to planting wildflowers in 16 areas of the town to encourage bee activity.

But not everyone who lives in the area is pleased about the council’s enthusiasm to carry out the plans.

Wendy Samuel, who runs the Hunt Lodge in Linslade, was “baffled” on Thursday morning to spot a digger on the other side of her garden fence in Linslade Recreation Park.

She said: “We were mortified to discover that permission had been given for a ‘weed bed’ on the other side of our garden wall. Did no-one think it might have been courteous to consult us?”

After a heated complaint from the Hunt Lodge, work was discontinued in the park temporarily until a public meeting is held.

A town council spokesman defended the groundwork and said: “It’s about creating bee-friendly environments by planting species of wildflowers.

“It’s a national initiative that the town council has committed its support to.”

The spokesman added that the council is working collaboratively with Friends of the Earth to carry out the planting.

Victoria Harvey, of South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth, confirmed the group’s involvement. She said: “A display of wildflowers , including cornflowers and poppies, would be very attractive in the summer for all the users of the park.

“I think it’s a shame that there’s been a misunderstanding with the Hunt Lodge.”

The pollinator strategy was devised by the government amid concerns that climate change is causing bees to change their habits, potentially affecting food production.

Enacted by local councils, the government strategy is also supported by South West Beds MP Andrew Selous, who has left part of his lawn long to support bees.

Bob Pattrick, a senior partner at the Hunt Lodge, hit back at the council plans.

He said: “At a time when Linslade suffers from extensive grafitti, the highways and byways are disgustingly dirty, because understandably, the council is facing economic cutbacks, who has the right to spend ratepayers’ money on this type of nonsense?”