A CAMPAIGN group is "very hopeful” that historic trees could be saved if new plans are submitted for the distribution hub near junction 7 of the M3 that could see them stay.

Christine Northam set up the Clean Air Green Environment (CAGE) group to oppose the Basingstoke Gateway proposals for the new distribution hub shortly after they were revealed by The Gazette last summer.

READ MORE: Amazon warehouse: More than 100,000 people petition council to stop destruction of 70 mature trees

CAGE has been campaigning to stop the destruction of 67 oak and three mature beech trees that currently line the road into the village of Dummer. The trees would have been destroyed if the original proposed Amazon warehouse was built near Junction 7. 

A petition, which looked to save the oak trees found in Oakdown Farm has gained more than 104,000 signatures.

Since then the developer Newlands is planning to submit a new full planning application that would see Lidl be the new key occupier of the site and at the same time save the avenue of oak trees. This came after, members of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s development control committee refused Newlands’ previous application – earmarked for Amazon.

Christine Northam, from CAGE, said: “We are aware of the rumours, and we are hopeful that the trees can be saved because we as a group are very concerned about biodiversity and landscape in the area.

“If the oak trees are saved that would be great. We don’t know how big this warehouse will be until the application goes in, but we have got a rough idea that it would be quite a bit smaller than the Amazon warehouse.

“We know that saving the oak trees and concerns about the biodiversity of the area are very important to everybody who lives in the area around and we have over 104,000 people on the petition wanting to save those oak trees.

“So the awareness of biodiversity and preserving the wildlife and the countryside is now more significant than ever and we will have that at the front of our minds when and if the this planning application goes in.

“We know that the council and the locally elected councillors all want to save the trees.”

SEE ASO: Councillor 'welcomes'  news that could see the destruction of mature trees stopped

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.

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

To sign the petition, visit: www.change.org/p/stop-the-destruction-of-67-oak-and-3-beech-trees-at-oakdown-farm-warehouse-site.

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Kimberley Barber.