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‘You can’t just replace it!’ Furious village row over plan to chop down 140-year-old tree

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Residents in Keresley, Warwickshire are campaigning to save the 80ft cedar tree with a circumference of 160ft, valued by surveyors at £165,000, from being torn down as part if a new estate being built in the area. Last year, property developer Bellway Homes was granted permission to build 550 homes with more than 100 trees expected to be chopped down as part of the plans. But local residents are furious that the mammoth tree is among those that will be lost as a result of the new homes being built on the patch of land.

They argue the cedar is home to tawny owls, hedgehogs, birds and several other wildlife, and also acts as sound barrier to passing traffic along the nearby Tamworth Road.

More than 60 residents have signed a petition that has been sent to Coventry City Council, with the final decision on plans set to be announced in June.

The campaign is being led by 74-year-old Ann Evans, who said the tree could easily live up to a thousand years.

She said residents are “furious” over plans to cut down the “beautiful, truly majestic” tree and it should be protected.

The local resident, who has lived on the road for 36 years, said: “It’s such a beautiful, truly majestic tree and we are furious that they are trying to cut it down.

“It’s a very important tree to residents. If it was anywhere else, it would have a plaque on it. It’s absolutely huge and a thing of beauty which should be protected.

“The tree there was part of three plantations of trees. There was the cedar tree, three monkey trees and three Scots pines.

“They were statement trees from the Victorian era, so they have been here a very long time.

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“You can go inside the tree and look up and it’s like being in a forest. It’s always green. Its colour stays all year round. Its glorious and we all love it.

“We are also worried about pollution if this comes down, trees are very important for environmental protection but they just don’t seem to care.”

Bellway Homes has pledged to plant more trees to make up for the losses but will need further details of their plan approved before work can begin on the homes.

Ms Evans added: “The developers have just seemed very disrespectful. They want to fell 120 trees to accommodate 550 houses.

“The whole area is part of a local wildlife belt. There are two woods here classed as ancient woods and they’re building a 20 metre buffer right up to the woods.

“The Woodland Trust recommend a buffer of 100 metres, so we’re obviously concerned about the impact on other parts of our countryside.

“We’re all conscious about the noise and pollution this could bring.

“We’re trying our best but when you’re taking on big businesses like this it’s always difficult to succeed.”

Jeremy Anderson, another local resident, said: “That tree is part of our community, it’s a stunning thing that improves the landscape.

“It would be criminal of them to tear it down.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Coventry City Council and Bellway Homes for comment.

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