Aldi runs into tree trouble as it tries to branch out

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DISCOUNT SUPERMARKET chain Aldi could not have picked a more troublesome neighbour to contest its decision to tear down an tree more than 200 years old.

Aldi has angered neighbouring Ecology Building Society (EBS) after it began the process of taking down a giant lime tree to build a new store in Silsden in West Yorkshire. But the contractors have been forced to down tools –at least for now.

“It has all gone very quiet,” said EBS chief operating officer, George Haslem. “We have asked Aldi to produce written confirmation that the tree would need to come down, which they were confident of providing by (Thursday) morning.

“Since that conversation, we have heard nothing from them and received no written confirmation. The workmen have also left the tree alone to concentrate on the actual Aldi site.”

The lime tree stands on the perimeter of the newly-approved site off Keighley Road, with half of its branches reaching over a stone wall into the adjoining grounds of the EBS on Belton Road.

Some residents have questioned the decision to allow Aldi to build in Silsden as they already have two stores in a very short distance away in neighbouring towns of Keighley and Skipton. An issue has also been raised regarding the approval of landscaping plans.

While Bradford Council has approved plans to remove the once protected tree, final approval for landscaping is to be discussed on August 25.

On Monday, EBS was approached by contractors from the Aldi site wishing to enter their premises in order to chop down the much-loved tree, which they refused. Mr Haslem said staff then placed notices around the tree asking contractors to hold off the axe until urgent discussions with Aldi had taken place. Contractors returned on Wednesday to begin cutting branches from the tree using chainsaws, which resulted in EBS staff standing under the tree in protest.

Their protest and request for written confirmation seems to have caused Aldi to delay the cutting down of the tree. EBS, which has been in Silsden since 2003, stated their intention to continue to fight for the tree.