NEW trees planted in front of seafront homes could block their view and “reduce the value of houses”, residents fear.

Residents of Lodwick and Leitrim Avenue in Shoebury have called on Southend Council to remove a row of stone pine trees planted along Shoebury Common Road.

The residents fear that when fully grown, the trees will block the views from their homes out over the beach huts and seafront.

Southend Council has responded to the concerns by saying that for the trees to grow to full potential of 12 to 17 meters it could take up to 50 years.

Bruce Cuthbert, who has lived on Leitrim Avenue for 13 years, said it was “intolerable” for the council to plant the trees and that there hadn’t been a consultation with residents.

In a complaint to ward councillor Derek Jarvis, 49-year-old Mr Williams, of Lodwick, said: ““We purchased a house on Lodwick in September 2019 because of its lovely views of the estuary and beach huts.

“The trees that the council have planted, although slow growing, are able to reach at least 20 meters in height when fully grown which will completely block our view and significantly reduce the value of the houses.

“Furthermore, these trees tend drop a large amount of debris which is likely to land directly on the cycle path and possibly the road. In our experience of similar trees planted further along the common, it can make the cycle path very difficult to use in the summer months due to presence of pinecones on the path.”

Mr Jarvis responded saying he too shared concerns about the trees being planted without consultation and called for them to be removed.

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment and planning, said the trees were in a location where they would not likely reach optimum height, and that planting trees on this land did not require a consultation, and encouraged people to plant more trees in their own gardens.

She said: “This administration is absolutely committed to increasing tree canopy coverage across the borough, with an updated tree policy setting out a target of 15 per cent tree coverage across the borough set to be discussed by cabinet this week.

“The current canopy cover in the Shoebury area is 8.6 per cent. To reach the target, we must continue to plant more trees across the borough on our own land and I would urge residents to plant trees on their own land where possible.

“These trees have been planted in West Shoebury, a ward which has one of the lowest canopy coverages in the whole borough, and resident feedback has been to increase coverage across the whole borough, we must maximise planting on council land.”