A SUPERMARKET chain is adamant it has not had any trees chopped down outside one of its new stores, despite widespread complaints from residents that some have been removed.
Scores of Hayling Island residents have taken to Facebook to ask why trees have been cut down outside the not-yet opened Lidl store on Manor Road, when the company promised trees would be retained.
The retail giant said all existing trees have been retained, and ‘soft landscaping’ done, which includes the clearing of weeds, scrubs and brambles.
It said hoardings that were up have been removed, so people might think trees have been cut down when they have not.
A Havant Borough Council environment officer visited the site today and confirmed no recent felling has taken place.
Paul Fisher, who runs the Hayling Island Facebook page, admitted it looks like trees have been felled but said: ‘I’m very pleased to hear no trees have been cut down, I had a feeling there was an overreaction.
‘We had been so used to seeing the hoardings that the uncovering coupled with the removal of of rough hedging and bushes surrounding the site gives the impression trees have been cut down.’
The council said there is one tree stump by the roundabout – an old stump which has been there for a long time. The hedgerow along Manor Road has been pruned but the trees in the hedgerow area have been retained.
There are almost 80 comments on a post about the difference at the site, in which residents have asked why Lidl hasn’t stuck to its promises not to remove trees.
Lidl commissioned The Ecology Partnership to undertake an appraisal of the site before it was developed, at the time the planning application was submitted to the council, last year.
It states: ‘All trees are to be retained and additional trees planted, as detailed within the submitted plans. The mature tree and wooded edges of the site are being retained with some soft landscaping proposed.’
Resident Fiona Ridley says she has lived on the island for 25 years and that there is an ‘unbelievably visible’ difference at the site, and that she believes trees have been cut down.
She said: ‘Driving up to the roundabout you couldn’t see up the road because of the big trees that were there and now you can.’
The council said there has been no breach of the Tree Preservation Order near the site.
A spokesman for Lidl said: ‘We would like to reassure the local community that all of the existing trees on the site of our new store have been retained and we are pleased to confirm that we are also in the process of planting 24 new trees.
‘We hope that this helps to reassure residents, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the new store, when it opens in the coming weeks.’