Environmental campaigners protest 'needless destruction' of Southend trees

·2-min read
Save our trees - Campaigners protest outside council offices <i>(Image: Save Holt Farm Oak Tree)</i>
Save our trees - Campaigners protest outside council offices (Image: Save Holt Farm Oak Tree)

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners protested the “needless destruction” of trees outside Southend Council offices last week.

Residents were joined by representatives from the Rochford-based Save Holt Farm Oak Tree campaign group – who had battled against the felling of a 100-year-old oak tree in Ashingdon Road – on Thursday afternoon.

Campaigners claimed the council was failing to protect the city’s “lower than average tree coverage” from developers, with the planned felling of a “high number of mature healthy street trees” proposed.

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“Trees are being needlessly destroyed by Southend Council and developers,” a spokesman for Save Holt Farm Oak Tree said.

“We went along on Thursday to support Southend residents who are tired of the situation.

“We are in close contact with the residents who are challenging the Cantel Medical site TPO trees demise!

“Unfortunately, despite so many residents understanding the importance of protecting mature trees, the council appears to be pretty clueless!

“They know already the tree canopy is already insufficient, yet they just keep slashing it even further.”

Developer Taylor Wimpey has submitted proposals to build 58 homes and 12 flats on the Cantel Medical site in Shoebury.

The proposals will see 63 mature trees – listed under council tree protection orders – felled to make way for the new homes, with the firm pledging to plant 81 young trees to replace them.

The plans will be determined by the council’s development control committee next month.

Councillor Carole Mulroney, responsible for environment and planning, said: “Whilst we have award winning Green Flag parks and open spaces, we are also a highly urbanised area, and raising our tree canopy level will need the council and community to work together to meet and hopefully exceed the 15 per cent target.

“We have been working hard on improving canopy cover and over 1,900 new trees and 7,000 shrubs were planted between 2019 and 2022. This was a significant increase on the levels of planting before that and demonstrates the council's and my commitment to the importance of creating a green environment.

“When a tree is removed it is recorded for replanting to take place, if possible, in the immediate vicinity but if not in another more suitable area.”