Rochford campaigners fight to save popular mature tree

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Rochford campaigners fight to save popular mature tree

ENVIRONMENTALISTS are demanding council bosses find a way to preserve a 100-year-old tree which is facing the ax due to plans to build hundreds of homes.

A petition has even been signed by more than 100 people to relocate the Holt Farm Oak Tree, on Ashingdon Road in Rochford.

The campaigners claim tree surgeons would be able to uproot and relocate the mature oak, despite admitting it would be a “mammoth task”.

The tree is facing the chop after Bloor Homes won its battle to build 662 new homes off Ashingdon Road.

Rochford Council had originally rejected the proposals but the developer overturned the ruling on appeal.

Leanne Dalby, who started the petition and is part of the pesticide-free Rochford District group, said: “Due to the Bloor Housing development, which has now been approved, the tree will need to be removed as it is in the way of the new road layout.

“Having spoken to the Rochford Supporters Group who have also been tirelessly fighting this development for many years, they mentioned they had spoken to a tree specialist.

“The tree specialist said it would be a mammoth task to do it, but said there is a chance to save it, especially as it is healthy.”

The proposed development has caused anger and frustration from campaigners who fear the impact it will have on traffic and services in Rochford.

But the tree’s future is now a primary concern for some, who insist it must remain part of the town.

“The tree must have been here for well over 100 years and has spent those years working for the community and the environment,” Leanne said.

“It has been helping absorb traffic fumes, providing shelter from the hot sun and heavy downpours, and given home to goodness knows how much wildlife.

“It is also a beautiful looking tree; it is a prominent feature in the area.

“It is extremely important to protect mature trees, as saplings will take a long time to mature enough to make any meaningful contribution and that is time we do not have.”

She added: “According to many communications I have had with Rochford Council, they are taking climate change very seriously, and if true, they surely could at the very least explore the possibility of saving this special mature tree.”

Rochford Council was contacted for a comment but didn’t respond.

To sign the petition, visit https://bit.ly/39YLJ4p