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‘We had permission to fell trees on store land’ – Aldi
TREES which were cut down by workmen building the Aldi superstore in Knutsford were not protected, it has emerged.
Guardian readers contacted the paper this week after noticing that trees at the back of the site on Brook Street had been cleared, and believed they had preservation orders attached to them.
But an Aldi spokesman told the Guardian it had permission to cut the trees down.
“We were granted planning permission by Cheshire East council for the site in Knutsford following an extensive approval process,” he said.
“This involved a lot of public consultation and engagement, where it was encouraging to hear such positive support for the opening of a new Aldi store.
“Planning permission included the removal of a number of trees, including a large sycamore tree.
“The council notified local residents about the proposed developments, and we have acted within the confines of what has been permitted on site.
“We are keen to keep engaging with residents and welcome their feedback as we look forward to opening our new Knutsford store in early summer 2013.”
A Cheshire East Council spokesman said: “Although a tree preservation order was served on land that is now the Aldi development in Knutsford, it was a precautionary measure, and the order was not confirmed. This means it is no longer in force.
“All planning permissions which have been granted for this development include a condition that requires a landscaping scheme and some of the trees on the site to be retained.
“At this stage we have no reason to believe this condition will not be adhered to, and will consider whether any action is necessary should the situation on site change.”
Aldi escaped a huge fine earlier this year after admitting to demolishing a row of 300-year-old cottages on the site.
The cottages – named Caesars Place – were behind the Brook Street site being developed by the firm, and dated from the 18th century.
They were put on a watch list of historical Knutsford buildings in September 2009.
However in July 2010 developers working on behalf of the firm demolished the buildings despite not having permission to do so.
The authority decided in July that it would not take action as council funds could be ‘better spent’.