A COUNCILLOR has denied requesting a tree to be cut down, despite it being the only thing blocking an unrivalled view of Southend seafront.

A cherry tree was felled in Clifftown Parade on Monday, opposite the home of councillor Jonathan Garston.

Southend Council has stated the tree was diseased and dangerous.

However, one resident claims she spoke to tree surgeons during the work and says she was told that the tree was only slightly rotten and could have been saved.

That suggestion has led residents to accuse Mr Garston of requesting the tree to be cut down to improve the view from his house.

Jackie Callow, 49, said: “I am absolutely horrified. I spoke to the tree surgeons, they actually showed me the paperwork which stated what was wrong with the tree and it was just a few damaged branches and a bit of rot at the top which, they said, could’ve been easily treated by pollarding the tree.

“One further down the road was diseased, but there was nothing clearly wrong with this.

“The guy I spoke to said he was really sorry it was coming down but he was just doing his job.

“It leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

“It was almost directly opposite his house, now he has an unrivalled view of the seafront.

“There was nothing wrong with that tree.”

The Conservative councillor denied playing any role in the decision.

Mr Garston said: “This is absolutely nothing to do with me.

“I most certainly would not ask for any tree to be cut down anywhere, particularly not outside my own home.

“There are professional officers, who are experts, and are employed to make these decisions.

“It is very sad, I love the trees, and it is all part of the conservation area.

“I am saddened but the message was clear, it was diseased and dangerous.

“Aside from that, trees are extremely important and valuable to a town. We love the Clifftown Gardens, hence why I have lived here for 13 years.”

A letter from Southend’s parks management officer to Mr Garston said the tree had been colonised by fruiting bodies, stating decay was advanced and the tree unsafe.