Anger over removal of trees - but planners say no rules breached
- Credit: ARCHANT
Planning chiefs say developers have not broken any rules in ripping out a row of established trees and shrubs alongside a footpath as part of work on an enormous multi-million pound warehouse project.
The vegetation was alongside the path 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.
Planning officials have investigated the removal of the tree and shrubs - described by cyclists and walkers as "vicious and unnecessary destruction" - but say Uniserve has done nothing wrong in removing them.
Port Ward councillor Graham Newman said he could not see why the trees had been ripped out - and wrote to East Suffolk Council head of planning services Liz Beighton and cabinet member for the environment, James Mallinder, about the matter.
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 said district council planners had now contacted him to say that the original planning consent had not been breached because there had been no conditions restricting the removal of vegetation in the permission. The trees lining the footpath were not covered by a Tree Preservation Order or other conditions and so permission was not needed for their removal.
Mr Newman said he would be looking at other ways of taking the matter forward.
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Trimley St Mary Parish Council has also voiced concern over the loss of the trees and written to Ms Beighton at ESC to request that the parish council be included in any discussions with Uniserve and/or the contractor concerning re-planting areas affected by the building works.
Walkers and cyclists said the shrubs and trees 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.
Uniserve plan to build a 2.4m high moss green metal paladin fence around the 26-acre site.
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 120 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.