Trees set to go for new homes development in Shoebury

A developer is preparing to fell protected trees to make way for 70 new homes in Southend.

Campaigners fought Taylor Wimpey over plans on the former Cantel Medical Ltd site in Campfield Road, Shoebury. The plans include the removal of 62 trees which sit on a hill on the boundary of the site.

Earlier this year, the company put up temporary metal fencing which was promptly knocked down by protestors.

Some sturdy wooden posts are now being put in pace with wooden pegs marking where the rest should go but workers haven’t yet returned to finish the job.

Tim Fransen, who helped lead the fight to save the trees, some of which are protected by tree preservation orders, put forward alternative suggestions for the scheme which would have preserved some of the trees.

He said “All the suggestions have been ignored and they’re just steam rolling ahead, destroying trees and wildlife.

“Residents haven’t been listened to throughout the whole process and the council is complicit to this. It’s vandalism as far as I’m concerned.”

Resident Mark Ambridge said he was worried people would trip over the wooden marker pegs which are partially obscured by grass. He said: “It’s appalling the lack of concern for pedestrians who could easily trip on them, as they run directly next to the public foot path. Particularly at this time of year with limited daylight.

“With that path a popular school run it’s only a matter of time before someone takes a tumble. I think that if fencing is required it should be done as a matter of urgency to negate the risk to the public.”

East Beach Residents’ Association, East Beach Park Residents’ Association, Shoebury Garrison Residents’ Association and Shoeburyness Residents’ Association all urged Taylor Wimpey to reconsider felling the trees.

The site includes 41 protected mature hawthorn and maple trees atop an embankment which is set to be levelled.

A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “Since receiving planning permission for our development in Campfield Road we have been preparing the information required to discharge planning conditions that will enable us to start work on site.

“We are confident that our proposals will benefit the wider community and secure the future of this site by delivering 72 high quality new homes.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter