Accusing developers of bullying over awkwardly-placed trees is not uncommon:
We axed trees for good reason, says superstore (From Worcester News)
Trouble is that the northern boundary of the park has a magnificent row of London plane trees over 100 years old.Junction 27 developers accused of bullying at public meeting | Tiverton Mid Devon Gazette
Petition | Save our Trees! Oppose the Current Planning Application for Luneside East | Change.org
Oldham News | News Headlines | Locals in tears as trees come down at Foxdenton - Chronicle Online
There has been a lot of unpleasantness over the felling of oak trees in West Hill near Ottery St Mary - to make way for housing:
Ottery councillor “persecutes” developer over felling veteran oaks - Claire Wright
Futures Forum: Trees and planning
There have been efforts to protect trees in the District and County:
Futures Forum: Protecting trees in East Devon
Futures Forum: Protecting trees in East Devon: District Council to debate
Futures Forum: District Council moves to set up forum to protect trees in East Devon... next year
Futures Forum: Ancient woodland: under threat?
Futures Forum: Protecting trees in Devon
The same scandal which undid the career of Cllr Graham Brown
Video: 'If I can’t get planning, nobody will' says Devon councillor and planning consultant - Telegraph
... also highlighted how councillors have advised developers on getting rid of unwanted trees:
Planning investigation: 'we’d say cut down trees before they object’ - Telegraph
'Cut down trees before they can object': Council planning officers offer 'consultancy services' to help developers win applications | Mail Online
This is a little difficult if there is a TPO:
15. Can I cut down a tree on my property without permission?
Not if it is protected by a Tree Preservation Order or a planning condition, or is within a Conservation Area. Tree Preservation Orders are made by the District Council to protect important or individual groups of trees and, if worthwhile trees are threatened, a provisional order can be made quickly. Anyone wishing to trim or cut down a protected tree must obtain consent to work on trees from the District Council although, in an emergency, work on dead or dangerous trees may proceed without consent, providing they are replaced.
East Devon District Council - Planning Faq's
But such inconveniences can be surmounted:
Cedar felling must not set a wrecking precedent - Letters - Sidmouth Herald
We must all make planning concerns known - Letters - Sidmouth Herald
Vision Group for Sidmouth’s Fortfield concerns - News - Sidmouth Herald
... although recently, a property-owner with several mature trees in Sidmouth was told to take care of them rather than have them felled, following further investigation:
Fell 8 Scots Pine and 1 Sitka Spruce.
DEFERRED to obtain further details and information regarding the condition of the trees, possible danger to neighbouring properties and any alternative management plan from the Arboricultural Officer who would attend a meeting of the Committee to present the report.
(5 letters of comment were received)
www.sidmouth.gov.uk/PDFs/planmin2014/PL MINS 26 03 14.pdf