PLANS to chop down an ancient oak tree in Waterlooville have sparked a row.
Havant Borough Council has received an application to fell a mature oak tree in Coralin Grove.
The homeowner, who has the tree on their land, made the application because a detached house in a nearby road, Hitherwood Close, is reporting subsidence damage.
Cracks have appeared in a single-storey extension at the back of the house and insurers say the damage is caused by vegetation, including the oak, shrinking the soil.
A second oak tree in a bridleway has also been implicated.
But some residents living nearby are outraged by the proposals.
It comes as the government is ploughing £1.1m into an emergency project to save English oaks from a killer disease that has already affected thousands of trees.
Local resident Lucy Haworth said: ‘These trees are not only part of our British heritage, but belong to a species threatened with extinction by an unknown disease.
‘What I find beyond belief is that these oak trees, that have been living and growing on the planet for around 100 to 200 years and rightly have Tree Preservation Orders on them, are threatened with felling due to a newly-built extension.’
She added: ‘We love the ancient bridleway and the rural feeling it gives to this area which without it would be just another “estate”.’
But a family member of the affected property in Hitherwood Close said the application was being led by the insurance company.
She said several properties were affected with severe subsidence since being built 25 years ago.
The woman, who did not want to be named, told The News: ‘It’s an awful situation.
‘No-one wants a tree chopped down. It’s so sad. The council should never passed it in the first place. They should never have built these homes around the oak tree.’
A report by Marishal Thompson Group, a subsidence mitigation unit, said: ‘The owner has reported damage and the insurer’s engineer is satisfied this is caused by shrinkage to the clay soil below the property and that this shrinkage is caused by or made worse by the effects of vegetation.’
Councillors are expected to make a decision on the plans next month.