A mother and her children sat under a tree in protest as workmen prepared to cut it down to make room for a new development.
The crab apple tree, believed to be just under 100 years old, is located in the garden of Smoke Tree Cottage in East Street, Amberley.
Neighbours were appalled to see branches of the much admired tree being cut offMike Toynbee
Contractors arrived to clear the site on Friday (May 29) to make way for a two-storey, three-bedroom property.
Resident Mike Toynbee lives opposite the home and woke up to the sound of workmen starting on the blossoming tree.
He said: “Alerted by the sound of a chainsaw at 8.15am, neighbours were appalled to see branches of the much admired tree being cut off.”
Last year, Mr Toynbee unsuccessfully tried to have a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) imposed.
He continued: “Having received assurances from the owners that the tree was safe, we did not worry unduly.”
Protests by neighbours brought work to a standstill while the owners were contacted. Among those who protested was next door neighbour, Coralie Abbott, and her three children Amelie, Inigo and Aubrey, who sat beneath the tree in the road.
Horsham District Council’s arboricultural officer Will Jones was quickly on the scene, and confirmed that although there was no TPO in place, he would talk directly to the owners.
Mr Jones said after a discussion with the owner, it was decided to preserve the tree in the light of local upset.
Mr Jones added: “At this stage he has given me his word that he will retain the tree and get the builders to work around it.”
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