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Wickes Under Fire For Tree Removal Request

Wickes sign 725 x 500.jpg

An application by Wickes to cut down 14 London plane trees near one of its stores in Canterbury has attracted more than 80 complaints from locals.

Wickes is opening a new store in the former Homebase unit in Cow Lane, Wincheap, following the latter's closure in January 2019.  The local council has classified the locality as an "an area of concern" for pollution and the "worst" zone in the area for nitrogen oxide emissions.  

The retailer's planning submission also contained a request to build a customer entrance lobby and a covered trolley park but gave no explanation for wanting to remove the trees, which have recently been pollarded by Canterbury City Council, who bought the site for £3.7 million in 2013. 

Local Councillor Nick Eden-Green talked to local online press service Kent Online about the new store: "It was very sad when Homebase went that the council hadn't been a bit slicker at lining up a new tenant," 

"They knew the tenancy was coming to end yet the building remained empty for so long.

"Obviously when you know a tenancy is coming to end, one would expect the plan for a new tenant to be sorted as quickly as possible.

"I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Wickes to Wincheap and wish them all the success.

"They'll be a valuable asset to the area - particularly after this crisis which is going to totally change the high street."

Residents have highlighted the importance of the trees in terms of absorbing toxic chemicals noted in the congested area, while Canterbury's Green Party stated:

"The loss of 14 trees in this heavily polluted area will be hugely detrimental with significant environmental consequences, negatively affecting local biodiversity, with air quality, carbon targets and the overall appearance of this already ugly industrial site.

"Granting permission may also set a worrying precedent for similar developments, rendering the council's climate emergency declaration meaningless."

Source : Insight DIY Team

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18 May 2020

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