A COUNCILLOR has welcomed news that the destruction of 70 mature trees could be put to a stop.

The developer of the proposed new distribution hub at junction 7 of the M3 is planning to submit a new full planning application across the whole site, which could see the trees saved.

In October last year, members of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s development control committee refused Newlands’ previous application - understood to be earmarked for Amazon - despite officers recommending it for approval.

Newlands is planning to submit a new full planning application that would see Lidle be the new key occupier of the site and at the same time save the avenue of oak trees.

A petition, which looked to save the oak trees on the site from destruction if the plans were approved, gained more than 100,000 signatures.

Cllr Diane Taylor (Conservative, Oakley and The Candovers) said she welcomes the news.

She said: “The retention of the avenue of oak trees is, of course, very welcome as is the reduction in size of the proposed buildings.

"We have also been told officially which company will be occupying the main warehouse, making it easier to do an accurate assessment of employment opportunities.”

The proposal is now 65 per cent smaller than the previous application - down from 271,000 square metres to 101,000 square metres. The height of the buildings has also been reduced between two and three metres across the site.

The development is still a distribution hub to be served by HGVs, but Newlands claims that the changes would also see the number of HGV and car movements reduced significantly due to the reduced floorspace.

A proposed landscaping ‘bund’ to be located on the southern side of the M3 has been removed. However, that land might be used for further planting to increase biodiversity, a spokesperson for the company has said.

Cllr Taylor said that despite the changes there are still many other considerations to be made and she does not support plans for more warehouses.

She added: “there are many other planning considerations to evaluate including landscape impact, urban design, environment, highways and traffic.

"This is a key piece of land, at one of the gateways to our town. To be greeted by warehouses at this location, in amongst our villages and new houses, will do nothing to improve and enhance the reputation that Basingstoke has built over the years as a great place to live, visit and work."

Newlands says it now intends to carry out community consultation ahead of submitting the new application.