A CONTROVERSIAL evergreen planted in the middle of a parcel of amenity land earmarked for a three-bed home was cut down yesterday.
Residents at David Penhaligon Way in Truro are furious after a "white van man" pulled up on the site and chopped off the 18-year-old Monkey Puzzle tree.
More than 30 letters have been sent to Cornwall Council urging it to reject a plan by a Camborne man to build a home on the recreational land he bought from Cornwall Council for £8,000 in September last year.
Opponents of the plan say if it was to be approved the scheme would worsen what is already a dangerous blind road junction, the plot is too small for a detached house, car space and garden and that it is designated as a public open space.
Neighbour Barry Jackson said: "It is a real shame that this has happened as they are rare trees and take a very long time to grow to maturity, about 30 years. To buy just a small 1-1.5m specimen, from a tree nursery would cost around £500.
"Naturally people living in the vicinity are angry that this has happened as it was a real asset to the area."
Cornwall Councillor Rob Nolan, who was in the process of applying for a tree preservation order for the evergreen, said he was sickened.
Cornwall Council said the Monkey Puzzle was not the subject of a tree preservation order or application and therefore its removal from the land was perfectly lawful.
A spokesman for the authority added that the matter did not constitute a breach of planning control or a criminal offence.