On the first days of December, Asda removed all mature trees along Dorothy road properties, without any warning nor proposal to mitigate the loss.
On December 2nd, half a dozen or so trees in Asda car park, which overhung the back gardens of the terrace houses along Dorothy road, were chopped down.
One resident said:
“The Asda rep. came door-to-door to get views about the trees and suggested that other residents had said that a vagrant had caused problems when camping under a tree for up to a week in the summer and that the trees blocked out the sunlight. They might have said this if he was putting words into their mouths but I said that I wouldn’t want the trees removed and that they should continue to be properly controlled.”
He was therefore surprised and shocked when he returned home to see the trees gone. The honey locust were well-established, having been planted about 30 years ago, and were at least 30 feet high.
After being contacted, Enable (the private company contracted out by the Council for arboriculturally and green space management) responded that unfortunately, there is nothing they can do as none of those tree were protected (with a Tree Protection Order – TPO) or located within a Conservation Area and they sat on Asda land, which had all rights to remove them.
One might think that Asda is still pursuing its initial plan to remove the greenery around the car park. In September 2020, they had a plan to refurbish part of the existing structure and remove the greenery around the car park. Asda’s plan was to replace all vegetation around its car park by a smooth finish.
The local website Lavender Hill For Me commented:
“It’s easy to see why they want to do this – looking after the greenery takes time and costs them money, it’d be much easier for them not to have to get someone out every few months to prune the bushes.”
Without much surprise from the local residents, the plan created an outcry. They later amended their initial plan to keep some of the trees and low lying vegetation replaced with bark mulch and replacement planting.
As a result, the large part at the corner of Falcon Lane/Lavender Hill kept the 3 trees but all the other vegetation was replaced with bark mulch and shrubs, while the green patch beside the post office was replaced by “low maintenance ground cover planting completed with bark mulch“.
Although the new layout is not unpleasant (currently properly maintained), the vegetation surrounding Asda is important and this move is at odds with the trend toward sustainable and environmentally friendly planning.
Despite all the efforts made by the store to bond with the local community, those brutal decisions highlight the issue with a store that seems disconnected from the area, taking only orders from senior management in Leeds* rather than relying on local staff.
- Read more about the reason to protect vegetation and the efforts made by the Council around Asda in our previous article: Controversial plan to remove all vegetation around Asda store
[*] Asda Leeds – as the store manager in Clapham Junction does not want to talk to local residents – was contacted for our previous story… and we are still waiting for their comments