AN EASTLEIGH resident has hit out at a “heartless” housing association over plans to cut back a 150-year-old tree which she says houses bats.

Lyndsey Davies has slammed VIVID Homes, saying their plans could be “illegal” in an attempt to stop them going ahead with works on the tree.

VIVID plans to remove deadwood, clear the growth on power lines and cut back the ivy from the base of the tree in work that is scheduled to take place in East Drive, Eastleigh on Friday November 15.

Lyndsey said: “The work will heavily impact my wildlife garden and could disturb the bat roost within the lime tree, which would be a wildlife crime. The work isn’t high risk, it’s completely unnecessary work and the timing is heartless and cruel, the tree is healthy and the wildlife relies on the ivy. No-one has conducted a bat survey to see if this work can be done.”

The Bat Conservation Trust, have backed Lyndsey’s claim, saying: “If there is any chance of a bat roost being in a tree, a full bat survey would have to be undertaken before any work could be done and if the roost was disturbed, it could be a wildlife crime.”

Derek Streek, head of Neighbourhoods at VIVID, hit back and said: “It’s important for work to be done to the tree to remove the risk of injury to people or damage to vehicles or property from falling branches. We were made aware of bats living in the tree and we’ve consulted with independent ecological experts to ensure our work does not disturb their natural habitat.”

Brian Beard, 75, who lives at 15 East Drive, said: “I have Lyndsey’s back 100%. There is so much wildlife in that tree, it’s unbelievable. If the work goes ahead, I will stand under the tree to stop it if I have to.”