Outrage at the mowing of a wildflower area in Margate has turned to bafflement over who was responsible.
The area on Fort Hill, at the rear of Turner Contemporary, had been a haven of wildflowers and pollinators but residents say they were shocked to find the area razed of all life last week.
And the question of who was responsible remains unanswered. Thanet council say the site is the responsibility of Kent County Council (KCC) and KCC say it is Turner Contemporary’s responsibility while Turner Contemporary says it ‘definitely’ doesn’t manage the area, saying it is ‘KCC land.’
However, KCC say land managed by its staff appears on the below map either as bright green or blue hatched. The strip in question is pale green, indicating it as not KCC maintained.
A spokesperson for the Margate Nature Trail group said they are aghast at “the senseless and brutal destruction of the wildflower meadow.”
They added: “The meadow contained yarrow, poppies, lady’s bedstraw, knapweed, valerian, bristly ox-tongue, and many other wildflowers, and was full of pollinators, bees and birds. It was not in anyone’s way and was the starting point of The Margate Nature Trail Project, providing a place for children and educators to meet, and share and learn about biodiversity.
“Tragically this has all now been lost.
“The area was razed to the ground without any reason and is now barren and litter strewn. Birds gathered early the following morning on tamarisk shrubs on the ground opposite with nowhere to forage, hop or feed. Hundreds of thousands of pollinators and insects will have been wiped out.
“Insect population is declining rapidly, bees are endangered and species are disappearing and one of the reasons for this is loss of habitat brought on by thoughtless and ill conceived acts such as this.
“Thankfully there is still a walled garden at the site which remains full of wildflowers. This garden is inaccessible to the machinery of destruction and therefore has remained for the wildlife, the children and the Nature Trail Project and can still be used as the starting point of the trail which is due to begin this summer.
“We are heartened by the enlightened involvement of some council members in our project and we aim to provide education to all about putting nature at the heart of everything we do.”
Kent County Council now has numerous officers investigating the wildflower destruction in a bid to find out who the mystery mower is.
Upset has also been expressed over the mowing of a 1.5 acre area at Ramsgate’s Westcliff which was home to nesting birds and other wildlife but is now bare other than browned stubble and shredded plastic and tin cans.