Monday, September 25, 2023

Outrage At King Street Tree Plan

London And Scottish Investments have made a planning application to Amber Valley Borough Council to sub-divide 27 King Street – Poundland – into smaller units including a new entrance.

The site plan notes that Derbyshire County Council have given permission for 4 trees to be removed.

This is permission from the council as land owners rather than planning permission.

On the planning application in answer to the question ‘Are there trees or hedges on land adjacent to the proposed development site that could influence the development or might be important as part of the local landscape character?’ the applicants have answered ‘no’. However, the proposal to remove 4 trees is included in their Design and Access Statement.

It appears that Poundland wish to continue to lease half the site whilst a ‘high street retailer with a blue chip covenant’ has expressed an interest in the other half – the part adjacent to the walk through to the station and fronted by the 4 trees in question. The landlords note that the trees ‘totally obscure the retail frontage of the shop to the left hand side and in their current position make any possible retail option unfortunately un –workable as they stand.’

George Bryden, Derbyshire County Council’s Countryside and Woodlands Officer has written to London and Scottish to say:

“Following a great deal of consultation, both with members and officers of the County and District Councils I believe we may be able to agree to the removal of the trees in question, subject to the following conditions The existing trees to be removed and replaced with three trees of a more appropriate species such as Betula Alba (Silver Birch) which has a far smaller, lighter crown, with smaller leaves and branches as the existing trees.”

He goes on to note that this proposal would need to be approved by members.

The debate on Facebook has been fierce with dozens of contributors condemning the proposal. One person notes: “They’re whitebeams which mean that they have a valuable insects pollinate, berries appear, birds eat the berries system. And it’s great to have Poundland semi screened. Plus they work hard on the diesel emissions from the bus stop!  There’s no need to cut them down at all.”

To view the application and register your objection or support go to: and enter the reference AVA/2016/0430. There is a tab on the application to register your views.

By David George

Image: The Local Data Company.

21 thoughts on “Outrage At King Street Tree Plan

  • Pound land is an eyesore and not in keeping with the original Belper high street

    We need more trees not less

  • Kath Woodward

    The trees should stay, when people are waiting for a bus they are nice to sit under them

  • Susanna Slack

    The whitebeams are the one redeeming feature of King Street. They are a great source of shade for those waiting for the bus, screen the frankly ugly shop frontage, and are quite simply one of the most stunning and beautiful of the small tree species. Removing them would be tragic.

  • I agree. That whole building is an eyesore in my opinion. Can’t we file a plan to take it down and just plant more trees…

  • Daveena Daley

    These trees are beneficial to our environment and to remove them would be detrimental. To be quite honest, I would rather the shop frontage is actually partially obscured by trees as it’s an eyesore.

  • Pat Dunnicliffe

    We certainly need more tree. And these should not be removed .

  • I totally agree!

  • I am disgusted by this, why not consult the locals and actually check that they’re happy? This shop is an absolute eyesore and now you want to make it more prominent. You’re trying to make Belper into some horrible chavvy town and take away the beauty and heritage! Shame on whoever came up with this disgusting ideas – probably someone who has never even been to Belper!

  • Dave Smedley

    Concerning the issue with the proposed removal and replacement of the trees outside poundland. I have just submitted my objection and as promised here is a copy of my objection letter.

    Sorry it’s a bit long and pompous.

    I would like to add my deepest thanks to nancy ferret for her species identification which gave me some more ammo to work with.

    In response to the planning application. AVA/2016/0430 I am lodging an objection to the application concerning the element in the application to remove/replace the trees outside 27-29 King St Belper.

    These trees are an essential character of King St and apart from ecological considerations they also provide a service by way of shelter for people using the benches beneath them.
    There are however, several technical points that make the application invalid or unnecessary.

    1. In the planning application form section 15 relates specifically to trees and hedges. Two questions are posed. They are:
    Are there trees or hedges on the proposed development site?
    And/or: Are there trees or hedges on land adjacent to the proposed development site that could influence the
    development or might be important as part of the local landscape character?
    No was answered to both these questions. This means that the applicant has already declared that the trees in question pose no barrier to the proposed development, and yet the request to remove and replace these is present in the Design and Access Statement. This is contradictory in nature. It cannot be declared that the trees aren’t a barrier to development and then request that they are removed/replaced.

    2. Consultation letters have been sent to addresses in proximity to the proposed development. However, these have been sent to the following addresses:
    Mulberry Bush Nursery Station House 33 Wellington Court Belper Derbyshire DE56 1UP
    Derbyshire Building Society 28 King Street Belper Derbyshire DE56 1PS
    Designer Joinery 33 King Street Belper Derbyshire DE56 1PX
    Somerfield Stores Ltd King Street Belper Derbyshire DE56 1PW
    Best Wishes 29 King Street Belper Derbyshire DE56 1PX
    These businesses no longer exist and have been occupied by others.
    This means that the consultation process has not been satisfactorily completed and the application should not progress until it has been done so.

    3. The applicants have already declared that the trees pose no barrier to development and the request to remove/replace them has come from a prospective tenant who may or may not take up tenancy when the development is complete. The removal of these trees should not even be considered on a purely speculative basis by a company who is not immediately involved. Any request to remove/replace the trees should subject to a separate application post development.

    4. The concerns raised by the potential tenant relate to the fears that the partial occlusion of signage may influence the capture of potential customers. It needs to be pointed out that such high level signage is only really necessary as advertising to drivers or passengers of motor vehicles passing by. This is not really necessary as that portion of King St is a pedestrianised area and such no such prospective customers will be driving by. This means that the removal/replacement is unnecessary as the partial occlusion does not influence potential passing trade. In addition, because of the slope of the pavement at this point, it effectively places the signage as it stands unnecessarily high. Locating the signage at a more practical height when the store frontage is installed would mean that adequate visibility by pedestrians would be maintained and improved giving potential customers the opportunity to be attracted by the business.

    5. Currently there are three major businesses, who also have identical species of the trees partially occluding their signage. These are:
    None of these businesses have found it necessary to object to the trees located in front of their locations even though that potion of King St is open to vehicles and potential passing trade.

    6. It has been proposed to replace the existing trees (Whitebeams) with silver birches with the reasoning that Silver birches have a lighter canopy than the Whitebeams and as such would provide less obscuration. It needs to be pointed out that silver birches can grow to 30m in height which means that they could grow to a height exceeding the current potential 25m of the Whitebeams. It should also be pointed out that a mature Silver birch has a more vociferous branch structure compared to the Whitebeams and is drooping in nature. The more extensive nature of the Silver birch canopy means that any benefit of having a lighter foliage would be negated and would demand extra costs in maintenance. Lastly in this point. Planted Silver birches have a higher risk of suffering from die back from two fungal pathogens which could mean potential issues in maintaining plantings. The current Whitebeams do not suffer from problems of this nature and would not require and extra maintenance in this respect.

    7. Amber Valley Borough Council state in their conditions for objections that several reasonings will not be considered. Please note the following:
    Loss of View

    Both of these are quoted and/or implied by the potential tenant as objections to the trees remaining in their current form. If these arguments are not accepted as objections to the application then they should not be accepted as argument and proposal for the removal of these trees.

    These trees are part of the character of King St and have been for many years. They have not interfered with the trade of previous businesses at this location and brings into question the need for such drastic and expensive actions.

  • maurice neville

    These are lovely trees which are a long standing and beautiful feature of King Street. It is not surprising that strong feelings are being expressed. I am investigating this with the help of John Owen, our county councillor, as this is an issue which falls across both council decision making processes. We expect to be able to make a statement about it within a few days.

    Maurice Neville – Cllr Belper Central

  • Jazz Richards

    We need more trees,not less. We are losing far to much greenery to developers already, without starting on the trees!

  • Is it too late to ask for a tree preservation order? Am looking into it.

  • J. Richards

    Are they not the beautiful Catalpa bignonioides? Whatever species they should definitely NOT be removed, as the trees are the only foliage on King Street.

  • Rowan Beton

    King Street – and it’s trees – were a big part of Belper winning it’s “Britain in Bloom” award. Hornbeam trees are beautiful and provide a rich backdrop to many High Streets. It will take a long time for the replacement Silver Birch to replace the Hornbeam – both ecologically and aesthetically. There has been no convincing case put forward for replacing the Hornbeam. In allowing this application the County Council have opened up the possibility that businesses seeking to redevelop premises on King Street will be able to demand the removal or replacement of trees. Not acceptable!

  • Lesley Sparham

    I agree—Poundland isn’t a pretty sight but it brings in the money and that is what the councils want—but the trees do add to the setting–I love them–and there are 4 so if they have to be replaced then 4 should be placed back, end of

  • Lesley Sparham

    good idea Sian, also I think the people of Belper should be listened to because we see and appreciate the trees all the time—they are a lovely feature for the street and should STAY.

  • Steve Turpin

    Perhaps if they told us which Blue Chip retailer it is we might give them a fair hearing. The frontage to Poundland is hideous, and I don’t see why the trees should go on a spurious promise of a big retailer.

  • Steve Turpin

    It is horrible but it’s been horrible since 1974 when a lot of King St was altered. What annoys me is that there’s no information about which retailer is interested, so we could potentially end up with the trees cut down and an empty unit. Unless there are firm guarantees from the landlords the application should be rejected.

  • Ruthe Davies

    My objection to the plan to remove the four healthy Swedish whitebeam trees to replace them with smaller trees. This is a very short-sighted idea, for a number of reasons.

    People spend more time, and more money, in retail environments where trees are present:

    Trees around shops influence consumer psychology and provide a strategic business advantage:

    The presence of trees in urban spaces reduces both violent crime and property crime:

    The current proposal is to replace these trees with birches in order to reduce the obstruction of the signs. But smaller trees means significantly reduced benefits. The benefits of trees is related to their size, and the increase is exponential. The value of small trees to the community is a fraction of the value of large trees:

    It is good urban forestry practice to plant the biggest tree that can fit into public urban spaces. Particularly in the high street of a town centre, trees of large and proud stature make a far greater contribution to the character of the space than small token-gesture trees.

    The proposed replacement species – birch – is not an appropriate species choice for a street. It is highly sensitive to drought, intolerant of pruning and tends to grow poorly in a tree pit.

    It is a dainty tree suited to parks and gardens – busy town streets need more robust species. It is very unlikely that birch trees planted in these pits would grow into mature specimens with healthy canopies, like we have at present.

    Street trees – especially large ones – are a highly valuable community asset. It is notoriously difficult to establish new street trees, with a high failure rate in this type of project. Belper has very few street trees and the ones that are present and well established should be protected.

  • Kay- Lesley Hallam Black

    Good on you both; remove the eyesore building not the trees !

  • Norman Piranha

    Maybe Mr. Turpin should take a look at his own garden before criticisising the plans of the Town Council. When last I looked, he had gravelled over the whole of his garden, thereby destroying any potential benifit the town of Belper might have recieved from plant sustainability. Typivally all soapbox, no substance.

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