ANGRY residents have objected to the Royal Borough council allowing for a grand old tree in Datchet to be cut down.

Planning officers approved plans on March 30 for a Wellingtonia tree, which is over 150 years old, on Riverbank, Southlea Road, to be chopped down.

The tree has a preservation order, which protects it from being removed or damaged, and is in a conservation area.

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In the engineer’s statement, they justified removing the tree as they found its roots were causing cracks and fractures to the three-bed property’s rear kitchen and the external left-hand flank wall during a survey.

The two-storey detached home is due to be sold off, the report states.

Before the application was given the green light, nearby residents objected to the plans, saying the tree is ‘significant’ to the street scene and to the local wildlife.

However, planning officers sided with the engineer’s survey, adding if they did not approve the removal, the council would be ‘liable’ to a compensation claim of around £188,000.

Royal Borough Observer: Planning officers approved for the tree to be cut downPlanning officers approved for the tree to be cut down

Plans to prevent the root problem were looked into by the applicant such as a ‘root barrier’ and ‘hydration scheme’ but were ‘discounted’.

Datchet, Horton, and Wraysbury councillor Ewan Larcombe told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he tried to ‘call in’ this application for members of the Royal Borough Development Management Panel to decide.

He was prompted by Datchet Parish Council, who objected to the application, to do this – but claimed he was told by council officers he was not allowed to ‘call in’ tree applications to the panel and are only decided by planning officers.

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He said: “Here we are saying we need to protect trees and we need to grow more trees, and here we are cutting down an enormous tree.

“It’s really an outstanding tree. When you drive into the village from Old Windsor, it’s [the tree] in your face.”