Anger is blossoming in Wimbledon, as residents vow to protect a “superb” magnolia tree which may be facing the chop.

When a planning application was submitted to knock down a bungalow on Dora Road and replace it with two semi-detached homes, neighbours believed the large, 50-year-old magnolia tree on the property’s site would be protected by its Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

However, the TPO rules allow for a tree to be removed if an appropriate replacement is found as soon as possible, and in this case two semi-mature cherry trees have been deemed acceptable replacements if the planning application goes ahead.

Diana Elderton, who has lived on Dora Road for 30 years, disagrees.

Wimbledon Times:

The magnolia tree in bloom

She said: “What this means is that really not a single tree in the borough is safe. Whether or not it is protected, it can be bulldozed. I think it is outrageous.

“They are riding rough shod over the protection order and not preserving that tree. Any tree can be replaced with a much smaller tree, a much less lovely tree, a tree that will take another half century to reach its full blossom as this has done.

“It’s a perfect specimen of a magnolia. It’s a rare and beautiful tree. If that tree was in Kew, it would be a protected specimen. It really is superb.”

Former school librarian Ms Elderton said the whole of Dora Road loves the tree, and was not prepared to rule out a tree-top protest if the plans go ahead.

Wimbledon Times:

Civil disobedience? The neighbours want to fight to protect the tree

She said: “Everyone would be devastated if it went. I don’t even want to think about it. It’s incredible that it could happen.

“We feel really seriously about it. I don’t want to speak for other people, but I don’t know if there would be civil disobedience.”

Cabinet member for regeneration, environment and housing, Councillor Martin Whelton, said: “We would urge residents to make their voices heard and submit representations on the application, as they will all be carefully considered before a final decision is made.”

To view the plans, click here. Comments will be accepted until June 24.