AN 150-year-old tree next to a busy Southend junction could be saved if planners can be convinced a right turn lane should be removed.

Southend independent Kursaal Ward councillor, Tricia Cowdrey and Thorpe Bay independent councillor, Ron Woodley, want to see the right turn into Tyler’s Avenue on Chichester Road axed.

They have called for a debate at Thursday night’s cabinet meeting and want to see the pavement widened, guaranteeing the safety of the 150-year-old London plane tree, affectionately named Chester.

The tree was set to be axed if plans were approved to build 58 new homes on the former Churchills Diner site on Tyler’s Avenue.

Plans were rejected and councillor Kevin Buck, responsible for highways, said no decision will be made on the tree until a plan is agreed for the Churchills Diner site.

Ms Cowdrey also hopes changing the road layout will protect pedestrians who have to face a broad crossing, which she says can be intimidating for the elderly and disabled.

She said: “We are removing the right turn and looking to make it a straight ahead and left-turn junction only, rather than forcing traffic to squeeze into one right-turn lane.

“This will make the junction safer for road user and pedestrians, we also wish to get this passed as soon as possible as it would ensure a moratorium on felling Chester.

“Around this crossing, there are a worrying high level of two pollutants, above the world health organisation recommendations and by adjusting these safety issues, we can protect Chester who will help improve the air quality.”

Ms Cowdrey added that as a pedestrian, she feels the crossings at Chichester Road are more difficult to navigate, so removing the right turn and reducing traffic would also make it safer.”

A petition to save Chester currently has 30,520 signatures.

Mr Buck said: “Until a decision has been made on what will happen with the property next to the tree, there should be no decision on changing a highway layout.

“I’m for keeping any tree but we have to be practical about circumstances, I wouldn’t recommend spending alterations until we understand the full implications.

“We could be spending thousands of pounds of taxpayer money and the tree may have to come down regardless.

To view the petition, visit, with a protest march planned on March 23