DOZENS of trees will be chopped down to make way for a storage and industrial space at Winnersh Triangle.

Only 25 trees will be planted to replace the 53 felled trees at the business park after three units on Eskdale Road are converted from a warehouse.

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This comes as Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) aims to plant 250,000 trees over the next five years as part of its climate emergency action plan to absorb more carbon.

Speaking at a planning committee meeting, councillor Gary Cowan said: “Environmentally I think it is a disaster.

“How do you compensate for taking out 53 quite large trees and putting in 25 that are considerably smaller?

Local Berkshire:

“I think we are playing a very dangerous game, I think we’re lying to the public if we say we support the climate emergency and [planting] trees but we go and do something as brutal and ruthless as this.

“I don’t think it’s necessary.

“We let the public know very clearly we are talking about climate emergency but we don’t give a stuff about it.”

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The plans include adding additional mezzanine floor space at the site, adding parking spaces and “extensive landscaping changes”.

But one condition of the proposals includes demanding applicants “demonstrate a net enhancement of landscape coverage… across the business park.”

Cllr Simon Weeks told Cllr Cowan: “We do have it on record that there is a net increase [of trees] proposed across the site.

Local Berkshire:

“None of us likes to see trees taken down but this is a business and commercial area and sometimes you have to do things that may not be acceptable in the broad sense of things for a range of reasons.

“One of those reasons is the continuing thriving of the borough and allowing and facilitating business growth and success in the borough.”

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But this did not convince Cllr Carl Doran, who argued a lot of the trees being removed were being chopped down from an area which would be grassland after work is complete.

He said: “The removal of the trees is a big worry to me.

Local Berkshire:

“Replacement trees are good but they take ten to fifteen years for them to start doing what we want them to do.”

Despite these concerns, WBC’s planning committee voted to approve the proposals at a meeting on Wednesday, February 12.

Councillors Cowan and Doran voted against the designs.