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Anger as trees and shrubs chopped down at multi-million pound warehouse project

PUBLISHED: 16:08 08 November 2020 | UPDATED: 17:58 08 November 2020

Trees and shrubs have been grubbed out along the public footpath and cycleway bordering the Uniserve warehouse site at Felixstowe Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

Trees and shrubs have been grubbed out along the public footpath and cycleway bordering the Uniserve warehouse site at Felixstowe Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

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Planning officials are investigating after part of a row of established trees and shrubs lining a footpath on the edge of an enormous building site were ripped out.

East Suffolk Council is investigating the removal of the trees at the Uniserve site Picture: RICHARD CORNWELLEast Suffolk Council is investigating the removal of the trees at the Uniserve site Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

The vegetation was alongside the footpath and cycleway leading from a footbridge over the A14 Port of Felixstowe Road to Clickett Hill Road, on the border of Felixstowe and Trimley St Mary, where developers Uniserve are constructing an 11.5-acre warehouse.

Walkers and cyclists have been incensed to see that shrubs and trees have been cut down which had formed a hedge to screen the building site and, when completed, the new development from view and had provided a pleasant green corridor, part of a network of country paths and cycle routes.

One walker said: “It is vicious and unnecessary destruction – I could not believe it. No-one can tell me why it has been done. It has ruined this path, which was a nice link to the countryside beyond, and wil take years to grow back even if it is replanted.”

Another walker said: “It’s awful. The mystery is why they have only grubbed out half of the line of trees and shrubs, unless the council stepped in and stopped them going further.”

Rapid progress is being made on the Univserve warehouse site at Cicketts Hill, Trimley St Mary. Contractors have the rear part of the buiding in place and are working on the front section and will then join the two up Picture: RICHARD CORNWELLRapid progress is being made on the Univserve warehouse site at Cicketts Hill, Trimley St Mary. Contractors have the rear part of the buiding in place and are working on the front section and will then join the two up Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

Port Ward councillor Graham Newman said he could not see why the trees had been ripped out.

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He said: “It was quite a pleasant glade of trees to walk through, linking up with other paths into the countryside. With the development going on we need the trees rather than removing them like that. Certainly we want to see these trees replanted as soon as is practicable and do not want to see any more ripped out – those are the assurances we want at the very least from the enforcement team.”

Mr Newman has written to East Suffolk Council head of planning services Liz Beighton and cabinet member for the environment, James Mallinder, about the matter and also alerted Trimley parish councillors.

The path and cycle way was bordered on both sides by trees and hedging and connects with a network of routes in Felixstowe and Trimley St Mary Picture: RICHARD CORNWELLThe path and cycle way was bordered on both sides by trees and hedging and connects with a network of routes in Felixstowe and Trimley St Mary Picture: RICHARD CORNWELL

Fellow ward councillor Stuart Bird said he had visited the site and seen what had happened but did not know the reasons behind it – or whether it was part of the original planning permission.

However, he also wanted to see the trees replanted when the project was completed as part of landscaping for the 26-acre site.East Sufolk Council said: “All we can say at this point is that we are aware and we’re looking into the matter.”

The project – which is expected to create up to 500 jobs – will see a warehouse the size of six football pitches built and which will be able to handle more than 100 lorries at loading bays at once.

Uniserve has been planning the project for six years but it has been beset by problems, including a huge escalation in the original £45m price and uncertainty in the financial markets following the Brexit vote which meant finance houses were very reluctant to lend cash needed to build the warehouse until the way ahead between the UK and continental Europe was more certain.

It will include a large freezer store component (a major expansion for the firm’s Felixstowe-based Seafast business) together with general portcentric warehouse operations.

Uniserve has been approached for comment about the removal of the trees and shrubs.


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