EUROPE’S longest and oldest green wall has been partially cut-down during work on a cycle lane.
The living wall in Madeira Drive was planted by the Victorians and stretches across the listed terraces on Brighton seafront.
But part of the protected wildlife reserve, the longest and oldest on the continent, was cut down while council officials reallocated road space for the new seafront cycle lane.
About eight Japanese spindle plants, planted in 1872, and a large fig tree were slashed leaving the wall exposed for the first time in about 150 years.
The Building Green organisation work with the council to maintain the living wall, recently declared a Local Wildlife Site – the only one of its kind in the UK.
James Farrell, from the organisation, said: “We’re feeling disappointed and shocked this work took place without any prior consultation.
“We worked really, really well with the council to safeguard the future of the wall, the longest and oldest one in Europe.”
The council are said to be commissioning a report into why the plants and tree were cut down.
The removal was reported to have been a “miscommunication” while creating the new cycleway along Madeira Drive.
A protected two-way cycle lane on the south side of the carriageway has been built.
The cycle lane on the pavement was removed to “create additional space for pedestrians”.
Brighton and Hove Conservatives say the blunder is “the latest embarrassment in a long line of errors”.
Councillor Robert Nemeth said: “In their experiment to rush to rush through their cycle lane project, the Green and Labour coalition has quite predictably destroyed something more important.
“This is devastating news for those of us who truly care about the city’s natural assets.
“In their zeal to build their ill-thought-out cycle lanes, they are just destroying everything that is in the way.
“In a broader sense, the council has once again confirmed that it cannot manage Madeira Drive properly.
“This is the latest embarrassment in a long line of errors which has included chopping down the famous Duke’s Mound tamarisks at night using diesel generators for light and nearly cancelling all of the city’s historic motoring events which bring tens of millions of pounds to the city.”
Brighton and Hove City Council has been approached for comment.