Dismayed residents have hit out at a supermarket chain, claiming they have shown no respect for green spaces in their area with the building of a new store on Wearside.
Aldi is creating a shop on the site of the former Croftside Care Home in Hall Farm Road, Doxford Park, which is set to bring in about 40 jobs.
But those living nearby say the company have let themselves down by removing a 100-year-old tree to make way for the development, which is opposite Doxford Park shopping centre.
Caroline Robinson, who was part of a campaign to save the tree and is also Green Party co-ordinator for Sunderland, told the Echo: “We’re really, really disappointed about this.
“It was always a contentious issue and a lot of people did not want the store put there anyway.
“This is something that was part of our local history. I bet if it was in Germany (where the company is based) they wouldn’t have done this.”
This was Aldi’s chance to ingratiate themselves and they haven’t.Caroline Robinson
The company has defended its actions, saying that “extensive” ecological work was done before building began.
But Ms Robinson added: “I don’t care what any landscapers do, it does just not add up.
“You can’t replace things like this.
“What’s being put in is not sympathetic with the surroundings and I think that’s a real shame.
“This was Aldi’s chance to ingratiate themselves to the community and they haven’t.”
A spokesman for Aldi said: “We understand that there has been some recent concern regarding the removal of a tree to the front of the site, but would like to assure people that extensive ecological surveys were commissioned as part of the development.
“The manager for the site also watched the tree for several weeks to ensure there were no nesting birds.
“Aldi will deliver high-quality landscaping as part of its development and a number of tree will be planted around the site and be maintained throughout the life of the store.”
The store is set to open in November this year.