A CONTROVERSIAL order to protect a tree in Malvern was approved by councillors this week, prompting an angry response.

Councillors voted to approve a tree protection order for the mature Lawson Cypress tree in the grounds of Springfield Lodge, Graham Road.

This was despite objections from nearby residents, who say the tree affects their lives negatively and that the tree was damaging the drains nearby.

READ MORE: Controversial TPO decision in Malvern opposed by residents

A local resident described the decision as 'an absolute nonsense' in an angry response - which was later cut out of the public video recording of the meeting.

At the meeting of Malvern Hills District Council’s Southern Area Planning Committee, a report from council officer Chris Lewis-Farley told the committee the roots of the tree had penetrated the drains below, but added removing the tree would not reduce the costs of repairing the drains.

The TPO was introduced after residents of Springfield Lodge applied for it to be cut down, saying it created too much shade and shed its branches in the winter, affecting their lives.

But councillors said the tree had a positive effect on the surrounding area. Mr Lewis-Farley said: “If this line of thinking were followed, the town and district would be bereft of its arboricultural diversity and interest” adding removal of the tree would “set a dangerous precedent”.

Daniel Thomas, who spoke on behalf of the owners and residents of Springfield Lodge, said: “This statement has been approved by all five owners of Springfield Lodge and corrects many of the inaccurate claims made in the officer’s report.

"Damage and the cost of repairs (on the sewers) is significantly more than originally presented. Costs actually relating to the tree’s roots are now £5,280.”

READ MORE: Decision on controversial Springfield Lodge TPO deferred by council

Mr Thomas said one apartment at Springfield Lodge is currently for sale, saying “any purchasing survey will identify sewer damage, potentially leading to a reduced asking price, or failed completion.”

He added that several apartments in the building suffer from reduced light as a result of the tree, which he said negatively impacts on the health of residents.

However, ward councillor Cynthia Palmer said the tree was of “little value” to public amenity, adding that she would not choose to live in Springfield Lodge while the tree remains in place due to its impact on light inside.

Despite this, Cllr Paul Bennett said the tree should be saved, saying it was “pulling out a tooth in Malvern’s smile.”

The TPO was approved, meaning the tree cannot now be cut down.

This provoked Mr Thomas to brand the decision “an absolute nonsense” saying: “I had three minutes representing five residents and the councillors here, not next to the tree, have voted in support of it.

"I might as well go and live in Moscow or Beijing, the way this has been handled tonight.”

The meeting was shown on YouTube - but with Mr Thomas’ reaction later removed.