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Anger at Aldi plan to cut down mature trees

By Eleanor Perkins

Trading a Leonardo da Vinci painting for a poster from Poundland.

That's how a campaigner has compared value supermarket chain Aldi's proposals to cut down mature trees and replace them with new ones.

Maria Hannibal welcomes the arrival of the discount supermarket in Deal but is against its plans to remove the two poplars, thought to be more than 100 years old.

Maria Hannibal is fighting Aldi’s proposals to fell these matures trees
Maria Hannibal is fighting Aldi’s proposals to fell these matures trees

She believes it would be a "farce" to fell such perfectly healthy specimens, which she says are important features to the area and offer health benefits to people.

But the German chain say they must go because their roots are growing through the tarmac.

But it has committed to a "comprehensive new tree planting and landscaping scheme".

Ms Hannibal, manager at Twos Company clothing shop in the High Street, said: "It is unbelievable that in this day and age healthy trees have to be cut down to make room for car parking spaces.

"It has been made known to all that they promise to replace them with new trees.

"My point is would you replace a Leoanrd de Vinci with a poster from Poundlound?

"These trees are living sculptures and work hard to reduce pollution.

Campaigners don’t want to lose the mature trees
Campaigners don’t want to lose the mature trees

"I also believe trees help people who suffer with their mental health.

"I think if these trees were cut down, it would be a farce for the town of Deal."

Members of the Deal and Dover Green Party agree and have previously spoken out against the plans.

They held a "love-in" at the site where they tied messages to the trees and handed out leaflets to shoppers.

Residents have also shared their thoughts online as part of the consultation which ended on June 22.

Sarah Gleave said: "I am sure that it would be entirely possible for Aldi to landscape and retain all the trees which are in their prime, which due to their size and leafage do so much to mitigate the traffic pollution.

"The tall mature trees are part of Deal's charm, and to replace them with saplings that may well be uprooted in 10 to 20 years when the next supermarket comes along, is not sustainable planning."

"My point is would you replace a Leoanrd de Vinci with a poster from Poundlound?" - Maria Hannibal

Darrell Tonks said: "I am opposed to the abolition of the existing, long-established trees and hedging.

"In an space already deficient in greenery this area provides much needed harbour for the urban wildlife.

"In addition this greenery provides a most welcome contrast to the brick, block and concrete backdrop."

Lucinda Davison think their removal is "very extreme".

She said: "They help to keep pollution down, mask the hideous concrete buildings behind them and are homes to thousands of birds.

"The proposal for new, smaller trees will not be the same."

Aldi's proposal is to demolish the current Co-op in Park Street to make way for a brand new 1,254 sqm supermarket and 128 space car park.

Maria Hannibal has described plans to cut down two matures trees as a "farce"
Maria Hannibal has described plans to cut down two matures trees as a "farce"

The company is now in discussions with Dover District Council and the application is likely to go before planners in the coming months.

An Aldi spokesperson confirmed: "Aldi's proposals for a new store have attracted overwhelming local support.

"The majority of local people recognise that Aldi’s investment will significantly improve the site, in addition to providing much-needed shopping choice in the town centre.

"The proposed new building, will be more sustainable and significantly lower than the existing Co-op, the improved Park Street elevation and walkway will enhance pedestrian access and the site's appearance, and the planting of 13 new mature trees will improve the character of the area.

"Nine trees have to be removed for the development to progress, but a number of the affected trees are in poor health.

"For example, one tree has decay in the upper stem and is severely declining, and others, such as the poplars on site are are not suitable for retaining in car parks as the roots grow through the tarmac surface, as can already be seen on site.

"Aldi has committed to a comprehensive new tree planting and landscaping scheme.

"The size of the 13 new trees and their future growth will significantly enhance the contribution of this site to local character and more than compensate for the loss of existing trees."

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