Company has tree cut down

Nickaila Arnold  and others wanting to save the willow tree in Bedlington,
Picture by Jane Coltman
Nickaila Arnold and others wanting to save the willow tree in Bedlington, Picture by Jane Coltman

A landmark tree in Bedlington has been removed, despite a community campaign.

The mature weeping willow was felled on Saturday morning as part of the construction of a new Lidl supermarket.

An online petition was set up to try to save the tree and it received almost 2,500 signatures.

When the application was determined, county council planning officers agreed with the company’s view that it was not possible to retain the tree as part of the overall development of the site.

The residents opposing its removal said keeping it in place would only affect half a dozen parking spaces, but the company said it would compromise the majority of the car park due to the size of the canopy and the structure of the roots.

The workers on behalf of Lidl have taken cuttings of the tree so that they can be replanted.

Nickaila Arnold, who posted the online petition, said: “We do respect the fact that Lidl has taken cuttings from the tree, but we feel that the company has let us down in a bad way.

“To deny us the opportunity to give the tree ‘a farewell’ as such is downright disrespectful.

“The campaign may not have saved the tree, but what it has done is show what a community can do when they pull together over something they are passionate about.”

She added: “Members of our community who had never met one another are now joined together as friends as a result of the campaign.

“We have raised awareness for Bedlington and further awareness of the little respect that corporations have for nature.”