MOURNERS gathered to pay their respects to part of Europe’s oldest and longest green wall that had been cut down by the city council.

Dozens of people gathered at the bottom of Dukes Mound, Brighton, on Sunday to protest against the "destruction" of the green wall.

Mourners listen to passionate speeches that called on council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty to resign, before laying a wreath at the base of the structure.

Last month, council officials slashed the living wall in Madeira Drive, which was planted by the Victorians and is a wildlife reserve.

The Argus: The wreath laid at the Green Wall The wreath laid at the Green Wall

Elected representatives were not told about the plans to cut down the Japanese Spindle, which campaigners said took place during nesting season.

The crowd gathered at the site around 12.45pm, before the founder of the Save Maderia Drive campaign group Ollie Wilson addressed protesters with a megaphone.

When he was finished, Jerusalem was played over a loudspeaker, which saw one woman join in with the chorus.

He said that Brighton and Hove City Council was like a "rotten apple" whose only worth was to be "put in the bin".

Mr Wilson said: "How can this be a green policy? It is pure hypocrisy.

"Phélim Mac Cafferty and his sidekick Amy Heley are obsessed with cycle lanes at the exclusion of everything else.

"He let down Brighton and Hove and its people with Madeira Drive.

"We really want competent government and when you look at that [Madeira Drive], it is causing enormous dangers.

"They haven't consulted with all the user groups despite the fact we got 7,000 signatures on our petition last year.

"This council is like a rotten apple. The only good thing to do with a rotten apple is to put it in the bin."

It comes after The Argus revealed the council accepted the wall's Local Wildlife Site status was “not properly noted or considered” by the officials before proceeding with the plans.

Local Wildlife Sites are areas of land that are “especially important” for their wildlife.

“We’d like to apologise to our residents for the way we went about cutting back the stretch of Green Wall at the bottom of Duke’s Mound,” a council spokesman said.

“It should not have been cut down in this way. We are very sorry about this, and an investigation is underway to find out how this happened.

The Argus: The green wall was cut by the councilThe green wall was cut by the council

“What is clear is that only minimal cutting back should have occurred, but we accept that we cut back much further than was necessary, and that this should not have happened to a Local Wildlife Site.

“We are going to undertake a detailed investigation into how this happened, and how the Local Wildlife Site status (which was acknowledged at the planning stage) was not properly noted or considered as the detailed designs were worked up.”