A HOUSING firm with plans to build 74 houses in a Rossendale village has responded to residents fighting to save a 100-year-old tree on the development site.

More than 750 people in Helmshore have joined a special page entitled ‘Save our Horse Chestnut Tree’ on social networking website Facebook.

The tree is on the site of the former Airtours warehouse, in Holcombe Road, where developers Taylor Wimpey have secured planning permission to build 74 houses.

Mark Calvert, representing Taylor, has written to the campaigners saying the tree was ‘diseased and dangerous’.

He said: “We employed a qualified arborist to survey the tree as part of our application and sought advice from the council on the report produced. I understand that the tree is of local importance, but the tree is now in a very poor condition. We will be reviewing this tree in the coming days and seeking another opinion on the condition of the tree.”

The developers plan to build a mix of two-, three- and four- bedroom houses, and two-bedroom flats, with 119 parking spaces.