A Knaresborough Green Party campaigner has spoken of her “horror and disgust” after discovering German supermarket chain Lidl has hacked into more than 30 trees.
Large rings have been chopped out of the trunks of 31 mature trees bordering the former Co-op site in Chain Lane, which has been bought by Lidl.
Describing the move as “cold blooded destruction”, Shan Oakes said: “Lidl has no doubt done this quickly knowing that if they had asked if they could kill the trees, the answer would have been no.
“The letter from Lidl to members of the town council inviting attendance at the consultation session on January 13 makes no mention of removal of the trees: just saying that Lidl will be submitting a planning application. In my view, their vandalism should preclude them from trading in this town.”
Lidl claims that many of the trees on the site are of “poor quality”, but reassured residents it would keep as many trees as possible, as well as plant new ones.
James Hanna, from Lidl’s acquisitions team, said: “We intend to retain as many trees on the site boundaries as possible, along with further landscaping and tree planting.
“A recent independent tree survey found that many of the trees on the site are of poor quality. However, I would like to reassure residents that as part of the new landscaping proposals for the site, we will be planting new high-quality species trees in addition to those trees which will be retained.”
Following the closure of the Co-op in November, Lidl purchased the site with the intention of submitting a planning application for a 1,690 sq m supermarket. The plans would replace Lidl’s current store on York Road.
Last week Lidl invited residents to a public exhibition at the Chain Lane Community Centre to give members of the community a chance to air their views on the proposals.
Mr Hanna said: “Over 230 people came along to view the proposals. We had some really useful feedback and the majority of those who commented, were supportive of the proposals.
“Lidl continue to welcome feedback from the community and we have distributed information leaflets, with tear-off freepost comment forms to around 2,000 households locally.”