Tree lovers are celebrating a victory as a plan to axe an ancient oak and replace it with a home in Caversham has been withdrawn.

Neighbours and tree lovers reacted with dismay at the emergence of a plan to build a three bedroom home on land next to 19 Gayhurst Close.

The plan caused an uproar because it would have involved cutting down an oak tree that has existed for hundreds of years to make way for the house.

The plan attracted national attention with self styled ‘Tree Hunter’ Rob McBride naming it the King’s Spy Oak.

The tree got its name due to a local tale that it was used by Parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War to locate the Royalist forces of King Charles I during the siege of Reading in 1643.

The application to replace the tree with a house attracted hundreds of objections, with Mr McBride making the journey from Shropshire to Caversham to admire the oak and call for the plan to be rejected.

READ MORE: Tree Hunter who named English Civil War oak visits Caversham to back campaign

He was joined by Jennifer Leach, who argued that allowing the oak to be cut down would be tantamount to ‘ecocide’.

The plan has now been withdrawn.

Celebrating the news, Jennifer said: “A cheer went up in Emmer Green on Friday with the news that the threat to the great King’s Spy Oak has been lifted, and the Gayhurst Close planning application withdrawn.

“The cheer for this veteran tree was taken up from Shropshire to Cambridge and beyond; it won support nationwide, with a well-orchestrated campaign picked up by national newspapers and ITV Meridian, after sterling local coverage set the ball rolling.

“Reading Tree Wardens, the Woodland Trust, the renowned media campaigner for ancient trees Rob McBride, and a whole community of impassioned locals, played their part in highlighting the danger to the tree.

Reading Chronicle: The 'Kings Spy Oak' in Gayhurst Close, Caversham. Credit: James Aldridge, Local Democracy Reporting ServiceThe 'Kings Spy Oak' in Gayhurst Close, Caversham. Credit: James Aldridge, Local Democracy Reporting Service

“An excellent report by Reading Borough Council’s tree officer, Sarah Hanson, played a pivotal role in saving this 700-year-old treasure.

“It goes without saying that this tree should never have been remotely under threat, and it is indicative of the local community’s absence of trust in the planning process, that so many supporters feared the outcome.

“We hope that the message will have been heard loud and clear – that trees and the environment matter dearly to local communities, and that we’re calling for the sovereignty of nature to be respected in all decisions.”

READ MORE: Scepticism over green credentials of 223 home Reading Golf Course development

As well as objections from members of the public, the plan also received an objection from Sarah Hanson, the council’s natural environment officer pointed out that the tree is historic, with only Reading’s Abbey and medieval churches having older heritage.

She judged that the oak is approximately 700 years old.

The plan for the home was submitted by Chair Homes Ltd, headed by Safeer Basheer from High Wycombe.

The company does not have a website, making requests for a response difficult.

The application reference  221909 was withdrawn by Chair Homes on Friday, May 19.