A CARER from Hook is being forced to dig up 30 pollinator-friendly plants she is growing with the support of the community.

Leanna Milward began planting lavenders and salvias on the verge of Sheldon’s Path in Hook, to support bees and butterflies in the area. She later added a “community apple tree”.

The 44-year-old, who works as a carer and youth worker, says she waited six weeks after seeking permission from Hook Parish Council, but decided she wouldn’t “waste time”, and instead took it upon herself to nurture the area.

However, she says on Friday (July 16), she was given three days to remove the plants or face having them dug up.

Speaking to the Gazette, Leanna said: “Sure, I didn't have permission to plant there, but after six weeks of waiting for their response, I figured they had forgotten all about it and why waste time when the verge was perfect.

“The verge was mostly weeds anyway, either overgrown or mown to the ground. And some dear soul had planted daffodils there a long time ago, and nobody was saying they should be dug up.”

Leanna said she began the planting on May 29, and was contacted by the Parish Council on July 8. Within two hours, she managed to get 25 local residents to sign a petition, asking that the plants be allowed to stay, and sent this back to them the next day.

But on Friday, she says she was told to have it removed by Monday (July 19) at 5pm, or they would be sending in the contractors to remove it.

Since then, Leanna’s petition has gained more than 100 signatures, and a poll in a community Facebook page, engaged with by hundreds of people, also indicates widespread support for the community planting.

“I am liaising with Hart District Council about creating a community orchard and community wildlife garden on green spaces near me, and they have been helpful and supportive,” said Leanna.

“With the government's Plant for Our Planet campaign, surely our councils should be supporting these community initiatives, as long as there is no harm being done.”

Hook Parish Council has been contacted for comment.