'Don't fell oak trees for new superstore'
RESIDENTS in Launceston have stepped up their campaign to stop part of an avenue of fine English oak trees, planted to celebrate the Millennium, from being removed to provide an entrance to a proposed superstore and housing development.
Members of the Launceston in Bloom Association planted 100 oaks at the turn of the millennium to enhance the gateway into the ancient market town and with the hope they would still be there in 1,000 years.
However, developers want to remove five of the oaks to create a new entrance to a new supermarket, hotel and 275 new homes.
More than 50 residents met at the site on Saturday afternoon with protest signs saying "Save Our Trees".
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They also tied yellow ribbons on each of the 100 oaks to draw attention to their objections to any of them being moved.
As they paraded along the Millennium Avenue on the edge of the town to the music of piper Colin Carvel, passing cars hooted their support.
Margaret Wills, chairman of Launceston in Bloom Association, said at least five trees would be removed to make an access for the new development according to current plans but she said taking even just one away would spoil a beautiful monument designed for generations to come.
Mrs Wills said: "We were really pleased that so many people came along to give us their support. It was only passed around by word of mouth and the support was really encouraging.
"The message is clear from the people of Launceston," she said.
"This avenue of trees is important to them and must be preserved."
Developer Securities and Wessex Investors, who submitted the application last year, have said alternative access points were not practical.
The Plymouth-based firm says a maximum of five trees would be replanted elsewhere rather than lost altogether.
Andrew Pegg, managing director of the company, said: "We have gone to great lengths to minimise the tree loss to just a few and that there will be significant replanting and landscaping within and around the scheme."
A spokesman for the developer said the decision on where the entrance would be sited would be made by the Highways Agency and it would not be possible to site it a short distance off the Pennygillam roundabout and on the South Petherwin road because of the topography of the land.
"The five oaks we need to move will be replanted and not lost, and we will be planting 100 new trees as part of the application," he said.
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