FURIOUS protesters are campaigning to save a 150-year-old tree near Southend High Street which will be axed if a major homes plan gets the green light.

Members of the Southend Tree Action Group were out in force over the weekend urging residents to sign a petition to protect the tree in Tyler’s Avenue.

The tree will be chopped down as part of plans to build 58 new flats in a 14-storey block on the Old Churchills diner site in the city centre.

The plans are set to be voted on at a development control meeting tomorrow and have been recommended for approval.

Protesters wrapped the tree in colourful ribbons and spoke to residents to explain the threat over the weekend.

A spokesman for Southend Tree Action Group said: “We took names and information and asked people ‘why,’ why should the tree be going?

“People were giving thumbs-up from buses and congratulating us on what we were doing. It was so heartfelt to see that everyone felt the same.

“It’s not just this tree, it’s all mature trees which are removed with spurious reasons and as we are in a climate emergency, we have to maintain these trees.

“There is a paper petition, but it is last minute, I have been on the phone ever since Sunday to gauge how to go forward.

“It’s the location, its so old, it has been there for such a long time and these trees were once planted all up Queensway.

Southend Tree Action Group were also involved in the major campaign to save a tree in Rochford which led to campaigners living in the tree for 15 weeks in a bid to block a development off Ashingdon Road.

Louise Wilcox, spokesman for the East Beach residents Association, said: “The East Beach Residents Association believes that all trees should be protected as much as possible.

“We hope Southend Council hears residents’ ongoing concerns about tree loss across the city and works with the builder and other council departments to find a way of saving the tree.”

SkArchitects, the agent and architects involved in the plan, have been contacted for comment.