WORK on a £2 million flood risk management scheme has begun along the Coldbrook catchment, with nearby residents unhappy at what they have described as "devastation" of the open space land.

Land clearance and the removal of trees in Stream Field, to the rear of houses on Laburnum Close, has angered residents of nearby streets who feel the work is an unnecessary destruction of a much used piece of green space.

In 2007 more than 100 properties along the catchment were flooded due to high amounts of rainfall.

The removal of trees, to widen the existing water course and reduce the ground level, is the start of work to lessen flows at the upper end of the catchment to allow for a slower release of excess water into the lower catchment.

Having started a petition against the work, Laburnum Close resident Tracy Abery said that many do not consider the field to have been a factor in the 2007 flooding, but rather blocked storm drains gathering water that ran from the opposite direction to the Coldbrook.

She was also angry at what she said was a lack of opportunity for locals to object to the work before it began.

"I don't think this is going to alleviate the problems," she said.

Neighbour Anna Harvey added that the area was popular among dog walkers and also as a play area for children, who would no longer be able to use it.

Another resident Andrew Davies explained that he was concerned about the impact the work was having on local wildlife.

He said: "It looks like a bomb's gone off. This is the start of active nesting season and they're bulldozing the trees down, not bothering to look if there are nests."

The Vale council has said a series of public meetings will be arranged for residents to view the scheme plans prior to the main contract work commencing.

A council spokeswoman said that the work has been undertaken utilising professional ecology advice and will be concluded prior to the start of the bird-nesting season, adding that once the work is finished the land will be returned to a mixture of grassed areas and trees.

Miles Punter, director of Visible and Housing Services, said: “I would apologise for any inconvenience or concern caused to nearby residents by this initial work but I hope they will understand the need to use council-owned land in this way to provide protection from future flooding."