Muslim women forced to wear hijab after Metrolink chopped their hedges

Afzal Khan outside his home (Photo: Manchester Evening News)

Muslim resident are locked in a battle with Metrolink contractors after workmen chopped their hedges – forcing some women to wear the hijab in their own gardens.

Father of four Afzal Khan is threatening legal action after workers building the airport line lopped his hedges in January and again in August, without permission.

He says their wayward chopping has made his home noisier, compromised security, and destroyed their buffer from noise, traffic and the elements.

Such is the loss of privacy that his wife and three daughters now have to wear their hijabs even in the garden of their home on Falterley Road, Northern Moor.

He said: “We understand you have to make sacrifices for the greater good but we have found Metrolink to be the most inconsiderate nuisance neighbours.

“It feels like we are having a daily battle with them. Metrolink have butchered our hedges.”

Nesting birds have also flown away – and keen gardener Mr Khan fears for his tropical plants, including ginger and palm, which thrived in part thanks to the ‘microclimate’ aided by the hedge.

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He added: “Chopping the hedge in August was a bad idea anyway because it exposes it to frost when the weather gets colder. They cut it back so far, and it’s all higgledy piggledy, they haven’t done it right.

“My neighbours have had the same problem – one asked them not to cut it and they missed his out – but then came back and did it when he went to work.”

He said workers also left road signs in their driveways, adding: “Metrolink workers have been consistently uncooperative. When we have complained we have not had a satisfactory answer from them. We are deeply upset and annoyed by the lack of communication and poor response.”

A spokesman from MPT, the contractor working on the line, said they plan to install a fence for Mr Khan.

He added: “We’re very sorry if the work along Falterley Road has upset some residents. The MPT team treats our stakeholder management responsibility as a priority on this scheme and others, and always aims to work with residents affected by the works for the new tram line.

“Although the resident’s hedge did need trimming to allow for pavement work to take place, we are continuing to seek an acceptable solution to all parties concerned.

“We do try to position the temporary road signs so as not to block access, but the safety of all road users is our primary concern, especially where temporary changes to routes or access affect traffic.

“Although the new tram line is approaching completion, we will make sure we complete any landscaping and community issues in a timely manner in conjunction with all our stakeholders.”

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