Trees not being felled to advertise Debenhams says Stevenage’s Roaring Meg

Some trees were cut down next to the Broadhall Way roundabout looking towards Debenhams.

Some trees were cut down next to the Broadhall Way roundabout looking towards Debenhams. - Credit: Archant

Roaring Meg Retail & Leisure Park has dismissed speculation that trees have been cut down to clear the view as drivers approach the new Stevenage Debenhams store, saying the work is part of a major new environmental project at the site.

An image of what the outside of the store will look like when it opens later this summer.

An image of what the outside of the store will look like when it opens later this summer. - Credit: Archant

One social media user tweeted the Comet last week to say trees on a section of the park were being cut down to make the giant Debenhams signs that adorn the store – set to open later this year – more visible.

Liam Daly tweeted: “Disappointing to see Roaring Meg cut down the trees so you can clearly see @Debenhams from the road.”

The trees felled were next to the Broadhall Way roundabout.

But when the Comet approached the owners of Roaring Meg – based off Monkswood Way and London Road – to see what it is up to, it announced work has begun on a “major biodiversity project” which it says will see the creation of a brand new ecosystem for the park.

The scheme will see replanting of the boundaries of the park to “attract more wildlife, to further encourage sustainability and create a more environmentally-friendly and attractive landscape”.

Phil Huby, head of retail asset management at Aberdeen Asset Management PLC – which manages the park – said the works will complement other environmental activity being done in the area as part of Stevenage Borough Council’s Biodiversity Action Plan.

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It also forms part of a £25m redevelopment project at the retail and leisure park, including the building of the flagship Debenhams store.

Mr Huby said: “We fully support the action plan, and as a prominent destination for the town we want to play our part in creating a better environment for future generations.

“The plan focuses on conserving the local biodiversity through restoring, recreating and reconnecting with local wildlife – and this is precisely what we are investing in.”

Work on the project began last Monday with much of the current plant life – which the park says is made up of non-native trees and shrubs that have “little ecological value” – being removed to make way for the new plants and shrubs.

Native shrubs, new sections of mixed species hedgerow and attractive wildflower verges will be planted there instead.

The park hopes the improvements will have a knock-on effect on the surrounding area and attract more wildlife to nearby parks and woodland.

Mr Huby added: “The project will be ongoing throughout the year, with each new sapling and shrub being planted at the correct time they are in season.

“July will see the installation of log piles – which have been created using recycled bark from the trees that previously existed on the Roaring Meg site – which will create the perfect habitat for woodlice, beetle grubs and wood wasps.”

Bug hotels are also being built on the site and will be home to ladybirds, bumblebees and lacewings.

Mr Huby explained: “We have worked incredibly hard to make Roaring Meg a fantastic destination for shopping and leisure, and we’re delighted to be beginning this latest phase to make the environment more attractive.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring this whole new ecosystem, filled with vibrant colour and wildlife, to the community.”

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