EXCITEMENT over work finally starting on the £500million Lots Road Power Station site in Chelsea has been dampened by the destruction of seven conker trees.
The site is being developed by Hutchison Whampoa to become 13 separate buildings including two multi-storey luxury tower developments.
With part of the development, being overseen by Circadian, in Kensington and Chelsea and part lying within Hammersmith and Fulham, the site has not been without its planning challenges.
Now finally under way, some predict it will eventually become one of the most impressive Thames waterside features, but after lying derelict for 25 years, the site is home to flora and fauna including mature horse chestnut trees.
Charlotte Morrison who lives in Admiral Square said: “We received a letter from the council informing us of a tree felling application of a remaining seven trees covered by Tree Preservation Order. Following the destruction by Circadian of all mature plants, trees and shrubs on their building site, this line of horse chestnut trees are the last living vestige of nature on their land and as such provide a refuge and natural habitat for wild life, especially birds.
“The trees have been a much-loved amenity for local residents for the last 25 years as well as an irreplaceable enhancement of the natural environment.”
A spokesman from Circadian said: “We have been in discussion with the council to replace these trees because they are diseased and their growth has been inhibited by the poor rubble-based subsoil. Our proposal is to retain these trees in position while the construction works are in progress and replace these with appropriate sized trees during the landscape phases.
“We are pleased to advise that works have commenced on site with the basement structure which is due for completion at the end of this year.”
Sheila and Murray Orr who also live in Admiral Square said: “The plan to replace them with seven Carpinus Betulus of 30-35cm girth is totally unacceptable. Planting painfully slow-growing trees measuring three times smaller than the current horse chestnuts is not replacing like with like.”
Lots Road Power Station was decommissioned in 2002. Hammersmith and Fulham Council granted planning permission for one of the towers, but Kensington and Chelsea refused permission for the other, so it fell to the Secretary of State to grant permission for the full development in January 2006.