Residents in a Sunderland seaside community have been protesting after trees were felled in their area to make way for a new car park.
Student artist Andy Parkin contacted the Echo after witnessing the trees on a patch of land close to the Seaburn Centre and Martino’s Restaurant being cut down by council workers.
It follows the granting of an application in autumn last year from developer Siglion, who say that 93 new spaces will be provided as part of a wider plan to create 186 in the area.
Mr Parkin and other people living in the area have been protesting against the move and say it will blight the area, although when contacted by the Echo Siglion said that landscaping with new planting of trees, plants, hedgerows etc will be incorporated into the new development.
Police officers have been to the scene.
Andy, 56, who lives in King’s Avenue in Seaburn, said: “Two trees have been felled and another two are left at the minute.
“I think this is a really bad idea and a lot of the residents have backed us up.
“There are people who use that land to play with their kids or whatever and it will make things worse around here.”
Mr Parkin says he has even taken time away from his studies at Sunderland University to voice his opinion at the work.
“I’ve had to take time off from university even though I shouldn’t because I’m in my final year,” he added.
“It’s something that I feel strongly about.”
Seaburn Conservative councillor George Howe, who has also visited the site, said: “I’ve been down to talk to people there and to a person, they said they didn’t want to see any trees being taken away,” said Coun Howe.
“I understand that after a car park is built that trees will be placed along the periphery, but still it will be a shame.
“There are loads of car park spaces in Seaburn already so I don’t see why we need any more.
“This is an environmental issue and I’m in agreement with the people protesting on it.”
Siglion has confirmed that a planning application for a mixed-use scheme for the Seaburn area was submitted in 2016 and that included plans for a car park off Dykelands Road.
The company added that a consultation has been underway for three years, with parking cited as one of the key things residents and businesses are keen to see more of.
It said the four trees that are being cut were identified as part of a tree survey as being of little ecological value according to the company, and the scheme overall will conserve as many trees as possible.
Siglion have also confirmed that the planting of further trees, plants and hedgerows will be detailed in a further reserved matters planning application.