Aldi are building a new supermarket on the site of the old Longwell Green Service Station on Bath Road and their property director Ben Shotter told The Week In that as far as he was concerned, approved drawings showed that the hedge was on land owned by the company and that there had been no breach of planning consent.
But the school understands that the strip of land just beyond its wire security is owned by the education authority, South Gloucestershire Council. The hedge had completely screened the development site but now it is clearly visible through the wire fence.
Longwell Green councillor John Calway, who is the leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said that ownership of the land was currently being established but either way, he understood that when the council gave Aldi permission for the store, one of the conditions was that the hedge be retained.
“They shouldn’t have done it,” he said, adding that action might now be taken against Aldi.
The council approved outline planning permission for the development in 2012 and the supermarket chain went back to the authority last summer with its detailed plans for a bigger store, only one access and exit point and fewer car parking spaces. The detailed plans finally got planners’ approval on 21st February, a month after workmen moved on to the site to begin clearing it.
The school has written to parents to say that the removal of the hedge was “inappropriate”: “We are liaising with several departments within South Gloucestershire Council, including the planning department, to get clarification and will be working with them to ensure that the safety of our children and security of our premises is maintained.”
A council spokeswoman told The Week In: “We received a complaint about the hedgerow on Friday and a planning officer carried out a site visit on Monday morning to investigate a breach of planning conditions.”
She said that inquiries were ongoing.
Mr Shotter said as a gesture of goodwill a replacement hedge would be planted once the store had been built.