A LEADING campaigner against a new village scheme has attacked plans to destroy a key feature of the local landscape.

Adrian Wilson condemned plans to rip out ancient hedgerows to make way for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's 540-home model Derwenthorpe settlement, on York's eastern outskirts.

City of York Council backed the scheme in January, but had to refer it to the Government for a possible inquiry because it owns most of the land involved.

Mr Wilson, of Grasmere Drive, York, said maps dating back to the 1850s showed the hedgerows in the same positions as they are today.

He described them as "an outstanding feature of the local landscape," particularly when they blossomed in spring.

"It is very disappointing that, despite protests by local residents like myself, the foundation proposes to remove 70 per cent of these internal hedgerows and the remaining hedgerows will be cut down to just a few feet high to avoid interfering with its housing scheme."

A foundation spokesman said the main loss would be a patchwork of small fields and their boundary hedgerows.

He added: "This loss will be offset, in part, by extensive new tree and woodland planting, as well as other positive ecological impacts created by the development."