South Shields' weeping beech tree saved by local petition

Campaigners with the Weeping Beech tree
Campaigners have vowed to save more trees

A beech tree has been saved after nearly 3,000 people signed a petition.

Original proposals included the felling of 160 trees alongside The Old Marine School in South Shields to make way for new homes at the site.

The plans have since been amended to keep 13 trees on Grosvenor Road - including the weeping beech.

Developer Avant Homes said the trees have been retained after "positive engagement" with South Tyneside Council.

Campaigners have described the outcome as a "small victory" but said they will keep fighting to save as many trees as possible.

Colin Porter
Petition organiser Colin Porter said it was a "small victory"

Petition organiser Colin Porter said: "There's a group of trees at the entrance of the college that are going to get taken down for one house.

"If we could just build [fewer] houses, save more trees, be more sympathetic to nature..."

South Tyneside College and South Shields Marine School, which are currently on the site, could move to South Shields town centre if separate plans are approved.

Their current home, near Redhead Park, has been chosen for development by Avant Homes, which intends to build up to 260 houses there.

The weeping beech, which is one of the saved trees, has been described as South Shields' Sycamore Gap tree.

The weeping beech tree
The weeping beech has been called South Shields' own Sycamore Gap tree

Mr Porter told the BBC in October: "It's just a magnificent tree."

"It's basically our Sycamore Gap tree.

"This means the same to us as Sycamore Gap does to everybody in the North East."

An Avant Homes North East spokesperson said: "Following positive engagement between South Tyneside Council and Avant Homes, we are happy to announce that we are [retaining] an increased number of the existing trees along Grosvenor Road within our proposed housing development.

"We look forward to presenting our finalised scheme in the coming weeks which will deliver much-needed multi-tenure new housing for the local area."

South Tyneside Council has previously said people can raise objections as part of the planning process.

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