'No apology': Beloved Islington hedge sawn in half by council contractor

The hedge before and after. It has been growing for decades.

The hedge before and after. It has been growing for decades. - Credit: Leighanne Murray

Owners of a ‘beloved’ topiary hedge have expressed their shock to see it had been sawn in half by contractors.

Leighanne Murray said her family have tended the plant on Tufnell Park Road, which they have nicknamed Henry, for more than 40 years. It is outside the house of her mother Shirley.

But last week, they found it had been crudely chopped back by Clarion - working on behalf of Islington Council. 

Leighanne said there has been no warning, explanation, or apology. 

“Henry has been admired by neighbours for decades,” she said. 

“Henry's owner Shirley Murray is a keen gardener, and is shocked that the council could do such a thing without warning her first.

"With the tragic loss of her sister to Covid two months ago, this destruction of private property is an unnecessary blow.”

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A Clarion spokesperson said: “Our operatives completed the trimming back of the overhanging hedge in accordance with the requirements of Islington Council, to remove any obstruction to pedestrians using the public pathway. 

“We will be scheduling regular work to ensure the hedges remain in compliance with the council’s recommendations.”

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “[We are] committed to ensuring that its pavements are accessible for all, especially those with disabilities and mobility issues.  

“A key part of this is ensuring that hedges do not cause an obstruction to the pedestrians using pavements.  

“The council has received feedback from residents that this particular hedge has caused an obstruction for pedestrians using the pavement, and the council has therefore liaised with Clarion Housing to address this issue.”