THE NEW owners of a derelict Ilkeston pub have vowed to create about 75 new jobs if permission is granted to build a care home.
But neighbours are furious that weeping willow trees lining the canal by the Bridge Inn in Awsworth Road were cut down at the weekend without asking them.
Although it is yet to submit a planning application to Erewash Borough Council, Nottingham-based Eastgate Care is hoping to demolish the pub, which has stood derelict for more than two years, and build the care home across the whole canal-side site, including the car park.
Workmen moved in on Saturday morning with chainsaws and removed a number of large trees, alarming the residents in Brook Cottages directly opposite.
They told the Advertiser the trees were popular with wildlife and screened them from homes on the other side of the pub site.
One of the residents, Adam Larwood, said the trees were home to owls and swans.
And another Brook Cottages resident, Colin Melia, said he was ‘gutted’ that his view had been ‘ravaged’.
“Where’s the consideration?” he asked.
“We were just having our breakfast on a nice Saturday morning and the next thing there are chainsaws ravaging our view from our windows.”
Mr Melia, who moved in four months ago, and neighbours confronted the workers and owner James Day was called to the site.
But after speaking to the residents Mr Day moved to allay their fears.
He said all the trees cut down were in a poor condition and stressed they would be replaced.
“All we have done really is take down trees which were in a very poor condition,” he said.
“Once the care home is built we will be undergoing extensive gardening work and the houses will again be very well screened from us.
“The idea is to build an attractive building for both the residents and adjacent properties.”
He plans to demolish the pub in the next six to eight weeks.
Mr Day said that the home is expected to provide about 75 jobs and added that two people from the area have already enquired about the possibility of working there.
A spokesman for Erewash Borough Council confirmed the trees were not protected and said the authority ‘has no powers to stop them being felled’.
Mr Day said he has already had discussions with the council’s planning department who have said a care home would be an acceptable use of the site.
The council spokesman added: “I can confirm that the council has not yet received a planning application for the site, however we are expecting an application in the near future.”