Residents in Neilston are continuing to push for the safeguarding of a prominent tree in the centre of their village.

The fight to protect the old sycamore in the square at Kirkstyle Lane has been ongoing for months, with 400 residents throwing their weight behind the campaign.

It is believed the tree dates back to the 19th century, with Neilston Community Council (NCC) keen to see a tree preservation order (TPO) put in place as protection.

However, despite an offer by NCC to pay for the cost involved in applying to the Scottish Government for a TPO, this has been rejected by East Renfrewshire Council, which owns the site.

John Scott, NCC chairperson, said: “The community council is here to represent the views of the people of Neilston and has received over 400 communications from residents who want us to help protect this designated amenity area from being built upon and the tree – a prominent contributor to the amenity value of the area – to be protected.

“We will continue to make our case to the council but residents should remember that the people who will take the final decision are our elected members.

“It is important for residents to let them know their opinion.”

However, East Renfrewshire Council insist that a TPO is unnecessary.

The local authority said it is “committed to working with residents, businesses and the community to ensure that our trees go on to flourish and to enhance the environment for everyone”.

A council spokesperson added: “Each request for a TPO is assessed on its own merits.

“We have been in regular discussions with Neilston Community Council in relation to this matter and an assessment was recently carried out on this tree, which is on land owned by the council.

“With all factors taken into account, it is not considered that a TPO is necessary in this case.

“The minimal cost of making a TPO was not a significant factor when making this assessment, regardless of whether these costs would be met by NCC.

“No decision has been made on the future of this site.”