THE CHOPPING down of trees to make way for supermarket car parking in Stratford has angered residents.
Around 20 trees – some of which were decades old – have been cut down after Stratford District Council approved plans for a Lidl store in an empty unit on Maybrook Road. The move will allow for nine parking spaces outside the store.
Resident and architect Dominic Skinner said: “This situation is symptomatic of a council who aren’t putting our environment at the forefront of planning decisions.
“As as a specialist in eco and sustainable design and construction, I’ve worked on a lot of projects in my time and I am confident the quality of trees removed would not usually have been agreed and done so aggressively.
“We should be protecting trees and green spaces, not removing them. Each of them has its own eco-system and this has been done during prime bird nesting season.
“The council clearly has pound signs in its eyes. I think they were cut down for visibility reasons rather than car parking.
“Birmingham Road is already an industrial estate, it’s an area which gets treated badly and this is another example of it being neglected because it doesn’t have a river or theatre.”
The trees – which included ash, birch, maple and a cherry tree – are set to be replaced with saplings which Mr Skinner, who is also Stratford’s Lib-Dem parliamentary candidate, added were not ‘like for like replacements’.
But Stratford District Council leader Chris Saint said a landscaping plan would include mature trees.
He added: “Clearly these cannot be planted until there is space to accommodate them. They have been formally approved and will suddenly appear like magic once the landscaping requirements have been implemented.
“All is under control so there is little value in making political points about this development.
“It would have been far better if Mr Skinner could join me and welcome the new supermarket to provide variety to local shoppers. By contrast, as a Liberal Democrat, he has chosen to nit-pick about something the council had firmly within their grasp.”
Clopton Labour councillor Jason Fojtik added the council had successfully weighed up the economic benefits and the new store would also create new jobs.