ANGRY residents have blasted the decision to remove several trees from roads in Southend.

Southend Council is now taking down trees in Westbourne Grove for what it says is a “variety of reasons”.

The council says the trees are causing severe disruption to buildings, are structurally weak and are in decline so cannot be saved.

But residents of the road, and the surrounding area, say the decision is causing “distress” within the community.

David Corroyer, of Westbourne Grove, wrote to the council and called the removal “vandalism”.

He said: “In the 28 years I have lived in Westbourne Grove I have seen 68 mature trees within a mile of me chopped down. The weather and being planted on pavements is blamed. I have worked in Havering and Romford areas for nine years I have only seen one tree removed in all that time.”

In June, 12 trees were cut down in Mendip Crescent, which equally angered residents.

Carole Mulroney, council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “We must reiterate that we only remove trees as a necessity, either when the tree is in decay and could potentially fall and damage property or harm residents, or as a last resort rather than pruning or trimming.

“There are no benefits to the council. In fact there are costs, it impacts the street scene, and we know how much local residents enjoy the greenery across the borough. We have an ongoing program of tree planting throughout the borough, and Westbourne Grove has been noted as a location for future planting.

“I am an avid supporter of trees and retention and I am determined to maintain and improve the tree coverage in the borough for everyone’s benefit.”