IT would have killed you in a heartbeat.

Those are the words of a Hampshire man campaigning to get a tree in his garden removed after a huge falling branch missed him by seconds.

But civic chiefs say it cannot be taken out despite the danger it poses - because it would affect the look of the street.

Paul Robson, of Nichol Road, Chandler’s Ford, was making his way back inside from his garden shed one evening when the incident occurred.

He said: “I heard a great big noise and a bough had fallen – it was probably around 15 inches across and 30 feet long – it would have killed you in a heartbeat.”

The incident left the retired 60-year-old shaken. “You start to think about what might have happened if you had moved a little later,” he said.

He added that to make matters worse, the same thing had happened in the past with smaller branches in 2009 and 2014, but he and his wife Yvonne were told by Eastleigh Borough Council when they applied for planning permission the chestnut tree could not be removed as there was a Tree Protection Order.

“The tree is about 100 feet high and now there is a gap about 60 to 80 feet up – there’s a large heavy canopy above and it looks even more precarious now,” he said.

“As a minimum we would expect to be allowed to cut the top part of the tree, but I think the council seem to place more importance on the street scene than safety.

“It would cost around £4,000 to remove the tree but I wouldn’t mind paying that if we had the permission. If this can happen in good summer conditions, we are worried about the winds which will be higher in the autumn.

“We have chairs near the tree but we won’t use them anymore.”

Paul plans to submit another planning application to have the tree removed, but he isn’t hopeful.

“We could pay for an independent tree survey to say it’s dangerous to help the application, but you can see it with your own eyes,” he said.

Eastleigh Borough Council said they were not in a position to make a statement.