FURIOUS residents in Arundel are up in arms after part of a small local woodland was cleared for drainage work.
Residents say workers used a caterpillar-tracked digger to clear a drainage ditch in woods between Ford Road and the River Arun.
They claim young trees and dense vegetation was also ripped out, damaging wildlife.
Gaye Barnes, of Ford Road, said: “These woods are normally filled with birds, including owls and woodpeckers, as well as bats, bees and butterflies.”
She said workers could not have ensured there were no nests in the thick undergrowth before sending in the digger, adding the ditch was home to a number of frogs.
Dog walker and local resident Simon MacIntyre described the damage as an act of vandalism.
He said: “It is a terrible mess now and an open invitation to people to dump rubbish, as it looks derelict. They could have been a lot more careful.”
The clearance work was carried out last week by the Angmering Park Estate. Managing agent Nigel Draffan said it would help prevent winter flooding in Arundel.
He said a drainage ditch was overgrown and clogged up with silt and household rubbish which had been dumped there.
He explained it had not been possible to carry out the drainage work during the winter because it was too wet which is why it was necessary to wait until summer.
He added the park estate had a duty to carry out the work. “It’s a jolly good job, well done,” he said. “It was pretty smelly before, sewagey and horrible and it was one of the reasons for the worsening of flooding.”