A rail company is resuming work on nature conservation land in Grove Park despite fears over the treatment of wildlife.

Network Rail halted its clearance work near Grove Park station in early October after concerns were raised by community groups and councillors.

Grove Park Community Group said the company had "wrecked" the site before calling it a "shocking destruction".

However, Network Rail has insisted the land belongs to it and no trees were cut down.

A spokesman told News Shopper: "We cleared this Network Rail-owned land for a temporary storage and depot site while we upgrade rail signalling equipment. The land has been used in this way for many years.

"We removed low-lying weeds and vegetation to make way for the depot improvements, which were sympathetically planned to avoid the removal of any trees.

"We advised residents before this work started but agreed to halt the improvements once we realised the level of local concern. We are still hoping to meet with the Grove Park Community Group to allay any further concerns."

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Sydenham councillor Liam Curran told News Shopper the attitude of Network Rail was "shocking".

He added: "Their response demonstrates complete misunderstanding of what nature is. Every square metre of wildlife we have is precious.

"I will be speaking to Network Rail to clarify what is going on."

The site is next to a railway with the nearby stations being Grove Park and Elmstead Woods.

Proposals have been sent to Lewisham Council under the Grove Park Neighbourhood Plan to extend other green areas to create an Urban National Park.

The plan centres around a public park, which will aim to link different green spaces around Lewisham and Bromley.

Preserving wildlife is a priority for planners who want to make greenspace which was previously inaccessible available to all.

The project is influenced by the 1906 book The Railway Children where the setting was inspired by the author’s walks to Chelsfield railway station.