Plans to cut down a group of trees outside a church in west Reading have drawn swathes of opposition from residents.

In a case of ‘Cutting by name, cutting by nature’, the recently-submitted planning application to chop down four lime trees and an acacia tree outside Holy Trinity Church, on Oxford Road, is from a man called Ronald Cutting.

The trees are protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), which prohibit cutting them down without the local planning authority’s written consent.

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If consent is given, it can be subject to conditions which have to be followed.

More than 30 residents have written to the council, raising concerns about the plans to chop the trees down and asking the council to refuse the proposal.

Gail Wells described the plan as “abhorrent”, while Helen Hathaway said it would be an “absolute disgrace” if it is approved.

Kerry Mackley said cutting the trees down would “make a complete mockery” of the TPOs and Dan Fundrey called the trees are “a vital part of the area’s biodiversity”.

Mr Cutting said the trees need to be chopped down because of the cost of pollarding them every five years and because of the amount of leaves and dead wood that has to be disposed of.

He also said the trees completely hide the church when in full leaf.

Residents also raised concern about losing trees in an area that already has low coverage.

The trees are in Abbey ward, which has a canopy cover of 11.6 per cent compared to the average of 18 per cent in the town.

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Kathryn McCann said: “The trees here are important, as they provide valuable canopy cover in one of the areas of Reading where it’s at the lowest.

“People who live off the Oxford Road are asking for more trees, so it would be very unfortunate to fell existing mature ones, especially given the climate emergency.”

Residents say the trees reduce pollution, flooding risks and provide habitats for birds and insects.