THE landlord of a Darlington retail park has defended its decision to cut down several trees in its car park.

Around 17 trees, which stood around the edge of the Russell Street Retail Park, on St Cuthbert’s Way ring road, were recently felled because they were overgrown and were limiting visibility of the site, LCP said.

Although the trees were not protected by a tree preservation order, LCP said new trees that do not obstruct visibility of the site will be planted on the site in due course.

However, local activists have hit out at the decision, saying residents are “saddened and outraged” by the tree felling which “erases the green environment from the area”.

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The Northern Echo:

Kendra Ullyart, of Darlington Friends of the Earth, said local environmental activists were demanding answers from the land owner for the tree felling.

“The Darlington community is really shocked and saddened by the loss of these trees,” she said.

“We needed those trees, it was a beautiful green line alongside the road.

“The Northgate ward area of town has got a tree cover of 10.3 per cent, which is much less than the overall town average of 16 per cent.

“Not only do trees look nice they are our reservoirs to hold carbon, they help balance the climate, preventing flooding, and offering a cooling effect to the temperature in our towns.

“Trees are the lungs of the earth and produce the oxygen we breath.

“It highlights the problem that we have with private landlords doing whatever they want.”

The Northern Echo:


The Northern Echo: The tree felling was also condemned by members of the Darlington Forest Project, who plant dozens of trees around the town each week.

The retail park, which is home to Halfords, the British Heart Foundation and a third unoccupied unit, was bought by LCP in November for £1.8 million.

And staff at the nearby stores were reportedly “shocked and upset” by the felled trees.

A spokesman for LCP, which owns and manages the site, said: “These trees, which were not the subject of tree preservation orders, were felled because they were overgrown and were limiting visibility of the site.

“We are exploring plans to plant trees elsewhere on the retail park, in more suitable locations that will not obstruct visibility.”

The Northern Echo: Aerial image of how the site previously looked Aerial image of how the site previously looked

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