A "beautiful" and "perfectly healthy" oak tree was almost cut down in error this week.

Residents and county councillor Laurence Brass worked quickly to stop the 150-year-old tree in Bushey from being felled.

The branches of the tree in Finch Lane had already been stripped back on Wednesday and by Thursday morning, the tree was "within 30 minutes of complete destruction".

It turns out the contractors hired by Hertfordshire County Council had identified the wrong tree to be chopped down.

The correct tree is a little further down the road and has been marked to come down due to its position on the pavement.

Bob Morton, who has lived in Finch Lane for 65 years, told the Observer he did not know why contractors were cutting down the "perfectly healthy tree" on the corner of his road and The Avenue.

Watford Observer:

The tree pictured in May 2018 (left) and March 2019 (right). Credit: Google Maps

Mr Morton alerted his newly-elected councillor, Laurence Brass, who says he was unaware of the proposed felling and began making enquiries with the contractors and council.

Cllr Brass was on-site at 8am on Thursday to speak with the tree surgeon who told the councillor the tree was earmarked for destruction. Cllr Brass said he spoke with the person overseeing the felling and after checking the location, informed them they had got the wrong tree.

Cllr Brass said: "A beautiful oak tree was nearly felled due to a gigantic mistake. It's a farce. I'm very upset by this.

"A 150-year-old tree can be destroyed within one hour which would have been of detriment to the local area.

"I have been reassured by the tree surgeon that the tree will grow back and thrive."

Watford Observer:

Bob Morton, left, with Councillor Laurence Brass. Credit: Bushey Liberal Democrats

Mr Morton added: "It is a lovely oak tree and hopefully it will be again. I feel totally relieved although mystified how they could nearly cut it down."

The actual tree earmarked to be felled is just down the road and backs onto Bushey Manor Field.

Mr Morton says he believes the tree can be saved by reconfiguring a fence that runs behind the tree to allow more space for pedestrians.

Watford Observer:

The left tree circled is tree that has been identified to be felled. The small circle on the right is where the other tree stands. Credit: Google Maps

Cllr Brass, who is also a trustee at Bushey Manor Field, told the Observer he has asked to give this tree a "stay of execution" while he explores the opportunity of creating a diversion around the tree, which he believes will be cheaper than felling it.

The councillor does acknowledge the tree is causing an issue for pedestrians with the trunk stationed in the middle of the pavement.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “We need to remove a tree which is blocking the pavement on Finch Lane, but unfortunately due to a miscommunication between our highways team and the tree surgeons, some work was mistakenly done to another oak tree further down the road.

"We’d like to apologise for this mix up and assure residents that the tree will grow back and that the cost of this work will not be passed on to the council. The work to remove the tree that does need removing will take place at a later date."

Watford Observer:

The tree that was nearly felled in error