An oak tree planted for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee has been moved and replanted to make way for a new road layout and housing development in Radstock.
Contactors for Bath and North East Somerset Council began work to lift the tree from Wells Road just before 7am this morning before taking it to a new location around a mile away at Writhlington School in a move that is reported to have cost in the region of £17,000.
The council say a new £600,000 road network change is needed to tackle traffic congestion and pave the way for 210 additional homes and shops along the former railway land in the town centre.
But local campaigners, Radstock Action Group, have questioned whether the local authority removed the tree illegally because of the conservation area status in the town.
Amanda Leon, secretary of RAG, said: “Without a valid permission to which a contract for development is linked, the tree is protected.”
The tree was initially just due to be cut down B&NES decided to replant the tree at Writhlington School after reaching an agreement with the family of Colin Latchem - young man who died in a traffic accident close to the tree in 1997.
Karen Emery, sister of Colin Latchem, had campaigned to save the tree; she said it had become ‘a living tribute’ to her brother which held great significance to the family.
Work is expected to begin on the road network changes in autumn 2013.