AN insurance company has defended its request to remove an oak tree in Tendring village after councillors failed to reach a decision on its fate.

Members of Tendring Council’s planning committee discussed the future of the tree, which has stood on Stones Green Road, Tendring, for over two centuries, at a meeting on Tuesday.

Almost 60 concerned residents have raised objections to the plans to axe the tree, which is subject to a tree preservation order, as a remedy to movement in the foundations of the neighbouring property to ensure the long-term stability of the home.

Parish councillor Nicholas Rippon attended the meeting and said: “It seems that the protection [a tree preservation order] gives to a tree means little to an insurance company keen to maximise its profits.”

The councillor, who spent four decades working in the construction industry, suggested that the only permanent solution to the issues at the property is underpinning its foundations.

Tendring councillor Peter Harris added: “I firmly believe that [cutting the tree down] will have huge ramifications for trees with TPOs all over our district in future years. This may well set a precedent.”

Planning committee member Maurice Alexander was also cautious about setting a precedent for future applications and said: “It would appear to me that we’re now talking about the balance of the life of this tree and cost.

“The aesthetics of this tree and what it brings to the residents in that village is priceless, and there’s no price you can put on that.

"The tree in my mind should be preserved.”

A spokesperson for NFU Mutual, which insures the property, said: “This application came after an independent assessment from expert arboriculturists.

“We have assessed possible alternative solutions, but they would require engineering repair works that would deliver significant CO2 emissions.

“We would also happily honour a request from the council to replant in the local area should they decide the tree could be removed.”

Committee members deferred the application until an independent investigation has taken place, which planning officers suggested is unlikely to occur before June or July.