A petition to save a 500-year-old oak tree on the outskirts of Clavering from development has reached more than 1,300 signatures.

Developer Pelham Structures applied to fell the tree in February as part of a plan to build five houses on the east side of Clatterbury Lane.

The tree made headlines in September when a school bus collided with it and had its roof ripped off by the branches, with several children taken to hospital.

Residents are now campaigning to save the tree, which historically marked the boundary between Clavering and Arkesden.

Campaigner Jilly McNaughton said: "The response to the planning consultation and petition has been huge so far and shows the strength of feeling about protecting this landmark tree.

"It also shows that the majority of people want to protect nature and prevent biodiversity loss.

"We simply can’t look away and let a small minority with vested interests take what isn’t theirs to take."

The petition also calls on Essex Highways to take 'urgent action' to make the road safer following the bus crash.

Jilly said: "I can’t understand why Essex Highways has not acted, despite Essex County Council’s Tree Team advising them the tree should be retained and a kerb installed as a priority to prevent future collisions. 

"The double decker bus still travels up and down this road twice a day.

"The tree is healthy and not dangerous but the road needs to be made safer here to protect people and this amazing heritage oak - especially if double decker buses are to continue being used on our narrow country lanes."

To sign the petition go to https://chng.it/hRBhwgKc8B.


The tree was originally intended to be retained and its root zone protected, but Essex Highways rejected the location for access to the development as it did not provide adequate visibility of the public highway.

Pelham Structures then revised their scheme to remove the tree and create an access road in its place.

Essex County Council is currently consulting on another change which could see the tree retained, and will publish their response on Uttlesford District Council's planning portal when available.