UNHAPPY residents claim a borough council hedge-trimming operation has created an eyesore in their Basingstoke neighbourhood.

Pensioner Margaret Garland, of Borodin Close, Brighton Hill, said environmental care teams at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council had gone “over the top” in their push to tidy up.

The 75-year-old said: “We are devastated. My husband is vulnerable so we asked the council for a substantial fence to be put up, but instead we have now lost our privacy and our security.”

Mrs Garland said her back garden is now entirely visible to people travelling down Hatch Warren Lane.

She continued: “The environmental care teams have just gone mad. If you walk around the estate there are other shrubs against the fences. It is easy to kill plants but a lot harder to grow them.”

Bernadette Parkhouse, also of Borodin Close, said: “It doesn’t look very nice. We were all sent a letter but we didn’t realise they were going to cut it all down.”

Noel Preece, environmental care manager at the council, said the council had responded to residents’ requests for hedge management.

He said: “We carried out a consultation, and with the residents’ agreement, we are carrying out work to reduce the laurel and shrubs in Hatch Warren Lane.

“In the short-term, this may not look very attractive but the growing season is just starting and this will quickly green up and will start to grow almost immediately.

“This is why we do this work at this time of year.

“Management of the laurel, which is not a good wildlife resource as it is poisonous to most insects and shades out any native species of flora, was long overdue and although this may look unsightly now, it will in the long run look a lot better.”