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Yew Hedges, Birdcage Walk (Removal)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1954

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34.

asked the Minister of Works the value, per bush, of the yew hedge in St. James's Park; how many bushes there are; why they are being taken up; and why this work was not done early in March before the bushes had begun to put on growth.

There were about 3,700 bushes in the Yew Hedge along Birdcage Walk. Those worth transplanting might fetch 10s. each, but I expect to find homes for them in property under my care. The removal took place as soon as labour was available.

The decision to do away with the hedge followed public approval of the opening up of the park, which occurred when the hedges opposite the Horse Guards and the Mall had to be taken out. I am sure from the expressions of opinion which I have received that the hedges are generally thought to be better out than in.

Does not my right hon. Friend consider that the remaining rabbit wire is an eye-sore; and will he give instructions that the bushes in their new sites will be liberally and frequently watered, bearing in mind that I hope to ask him at a future date how many of them are alive?

Yes, Sir. I agree about the wire, but we must do one thing at a time.

What is the total cost of this operation? How much public money was lost as a result of this?

They cost £300 to plant. That was some years ago, and the hedge has gone down hill ever since.