SEAVIEW residents are in uproar after a much-loved, 150-year-old oak tree was cut down on the orders of one of the world's best-known private schools.

The oak tree stood on land next to the public footpath which overlooks Seagrove Bay and St Helens Fort and is known to locals as the Donkey Field, as it used to house donkeys.

The land, which used to be part of the Seagrove Estate, is now owned by Eton College, the exclusive school that includes the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, past PM David Cameron, Princes William and Harry and film stars Hugh Laurie and Dominic West among its old boys.

After the removal of the tree in September, residents have sprung into action to stop other trees on the field being taken down.

A campaign group called Save the Donkey Field has been started to oppose any potential development being proposed and preserve the iconic view as it is under threat.

Isle of Wight County Press:

A spokesperson for the group said:

"Local residents are both upset and dismayed at what they see as the wanton, unnecessary, destruction of those trees.

"No planning application has yet been made let alone granted. Tree preservation orders have now been obtained on an expedited basis to prevent Eton from felling any other tree in the field."

For more information or to get involved with the campaign, you can visit

Isle of Wight County Press:

The group had questioned whether the felling of the tree was legal but the Isle of Wight Council has confirmed as the tree was on private land and it has no evidence to suggest otherwise no offence was committed.

A spokesperson for the council said: "Following requests from local people and an assessment of the location, a tree preservation order was made which protects some of the other trees in that area.

"In general, the order does not prevent planning applications from being made on land, but the protection of the trees will ensure that they are part of the planning discussion if an application to develop the site is received in the future."

Isle of Wight County Press: The oak tree (seen behind the shed) pictured by Google Maps in 2009.The oak tree (seen behind the shed) pictured by Google Maps in 2009.

Asset manager of the land for the trustees of Eton College, Camilla Capaldi, of Clearbell, confirmed the site was deemed 'deliverable' for up to 12 houses as a result of the council's strategic housing land availability assessment process.

Ms Capaldi said the oak tree's removal was to facilitate access to the site and landscaping proposed as part of the housing plan would incorporate the planting of a good number of trees including native oaks.

She said: "We have submitted a pre-application proposal and taken on board comments from the council as to the type of development they would like to see here, with the ultimate intention of submitting an application for a low-density residential scheme in due course."

Isle of Wight County Press: