Residents in a Leicestershire village are protesting over plans to fell a 57-year-old tree, planted in memory of Sir Winston Churchill.
More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition set up to oppose plans by Bellway, who want to remove the tree in Main Street, Cossington.
The develop wants to fell the tree to make for an access road to a new 166 housing estate in the village.
However, villagers say that there are other ways of providing access to the new estate, which don’t involve removing the historic Oak.
It was planted in 1966 to commemorate the death of Sir Winston Churchill. Since 1902 English oak trees had been planted along Main Street in recognition of significant national events.
“This tree has been in situ longer than lots of houses in our village,” said Emma Crowe, clerk at Cossington Parish Council.
“The removal of this beautiful tree is considered necessary by the builders. We contend it is not. There are other ways of providing access to the new estate. The tree is sited on a sharp, right angled bend which is already dangerous.”
Bellway said it had agreed to plant a replacement tree.
However, villagers say they will defend the tree ‘whatever the cost may be.’
On Tuesday (July 11), a number of resident gathered around the tree to show their opposition, and there is even talk of them camping out at the site to stop the removal when the time comes.
“This is a historic tree in memory of the greatest Briton, and as an oak tree the anchor for hundreds of native species,” said Harry Longman, one of the petitioners.
“Not only beautiful in itself, it provides one of those rare places of permanence in a world hurtling towards environmental disaster.”
”This tree is part of the history of Cossington, in memory of such an Icon,” added Cheryl Taylor.
“Its beautiful branches shade a wooden bench where there is normally someone resting from their walk, bike ride, dog walk or just sitting chatting.
“We are being told constantly to preserve and care for nature. Do not let this favourite, famous tree be destroyed.”
A spokesperson for Bellway said that while they understood the views of the local residents, there is no alternative means of access to the planned development.
“The outline planning consent granted in October 2022 confirms this as the only suitable entry to the site,” they added.
“We understand the tree is important to people in the village.
“We would urge the residents who remain concerned to engage with the parish council as we work together to find a solution.”