Two oak trees which are thought to be 200 years old, are set to be removed and residents have launched a petition for the trees to stay.

The oak trees sit next to a stream in a green area at the end of Shinmoor Close in Didcot.

Tree preservation orders are visible for the oak trees on the South Oxfordshire District Council website.

However, due to the roots being the suspected cause of subsidence problems for a house on Shinmoor Close, residents say the preservation order has been removed.

Stephen and Jo Whitaker live on Shinmoor Close and say a house on the same road which was built 20 years ago by Persimmon Wessex and had an extension built 11 years ago, is now suffering damage caused by the roots of the oak trees.

Mr Whitaker explained that the trees overhang into his garden, but he does not want them to be cut down.

Read also: Ecologist from Oxford wins place on BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour Power List

He is also annoyed that residents on the street were not informed about the removal of the tree preservation order and says he is not aware of any groundwork taking place to assess the problem.

Mr Whitaker said he only became aware on Monday November 16, that the trees were due to be removed by which time it was too late to object as Persimmon Wessex had already gained permission.

He said: “They have been there for 200 years; we need the oaks. We were not informed, and they are literally on our property. It is possible they could be cut down at any moment.”

He added: “I don’t think the problem is actually going to be solved by cutting down the trees."

Ruth Smale has launched an online petition to save the trees calling for another solution to the problem. She said: “These trees are home to a huge variety of birds; the loss of these trees will devastate them. The birds won’t be able to find new homes as the trees are in the middle of a very large housing estate where most of the trees have already been cut down.”

She added: "We would like Persimmon and the insurance not to take the cheapest option of felling the trees but to get together and find another solution to this problem."

South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) explained that a Tree Preservation Order covers eight trees in this area, but in August this year the council received an application for the felling of the two oak trees because of damage to a property nearby. 
SODC also highlighted that it is under no legal obligation to inform local residents of tree works applications. The decision to fell the trees is based on the 'technical evidence' submitted by the applicant and the council’s own 'expert knowledge' and not on public opinion.  
The district council added: "While the council shares the view that the trees provide multiple benefits to the surrounding area, compelling evidence was provided to demonstrate how the trees in this case are detrimentally affecting the property nearby.

"This included an arboricultural appraisal report, a geotechnical survey report and a technical appraisal report. Following the evidence presented, the council had no alternative other than to issue consent for the felling of the two trees which were causing the property damage."