TREES and hedgerows uprooted on land owned by racing tycoons JP McManus and John Magnier – upsetting local residents – are to be replaced, the Herald has learned.
The pair own Luttrellstown Castle Golf and Country Club which bought the farmland late last year for €4.3m.
Since then work has been carried out, clearing ditches and removing trees and hedges.
Residents near the land at St Edmundsbury on the outskirts of Lucan, Co Dublin, had complained that "irreplaceable wildlife habitats" had been destroyed.
They have also complained that they are being restricted from walking through the fields.
Denis McCarthy, from nearby Beechpark, told the Herald: "I went through the lands and I saw the destruction and it was shocking. It's total decimation.
"There's everything down there – birds, foxes, badgers.
"If you cut down hedgerows and trees obviously you lose the wildlife."
Fine Gael councillor William Lavelle passed on residents' concerns to South Dublin County Council.
Senior planner Neil O'Byrne responded to Cllr Lavelle yesterday saying that the owner's land manager had explained that "diseased and unstable trees were being removed for health and safety reasons and for traffic visibility reasons".
The planner also said the land manager told the council that hedgerows which became overgrown onto the fields were cut back and one was removed completely but would be "replanted this winter".
Colm Hannon, the chief executive of Luttrellstown Castle, insisted that all of the work done on the land and the replanting plan was "agreed with the council in advance".
He said the work that had been carried out was "a complete tidy up of hedgerows that were overgrown, had gone wild and in many cases had died".
"It's not that they'd all been ripped out or anything.
"We've got a whole woodland programme that's going back in here once the tidy up is done.
"There's oak and there's ash and there's several other native species that are going back in to make the whole place more attractive."
Cllr Lavelle last night said he had spoken to management at Luttrellstown about possibly opening up some public walking routes on the site and that such a project would have "potential from a recreational and tourism point of view".
Asked about Cllr Lavelle's proposal, Mr Hannon said: "Those discussions will be ongoing for the future."