The planned removal of a yew tree to make way for an extension to St Mary’s Church, Horsell, has been branded disgraceful by a neighbour.

Graham Taylor, who lives at The Old Vicarage, said that “apart from its history and beauty, the tree is a home for many birds, particularly when it is in fruit.”

Mr Taylor has written to the borough council objecting to the proposal, saying “the removal of this beautiful, ancient Yew tree would have a significantly detrimental impact upon the wildlife” and that it blocks out “the lighting effect of the distant Woking towers” and railway noise.

Brian Sheriff, the church warden, told the News & Mail: “We are blessed with many yew trees; the one to be removed is a rather poor specimen.”

He added that the extension would allow for a new kitchen to replace the current one that “is too small to meet modern hygiene standards, preventing food preparation.”