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Protected tree to be felled for causing structural damage to Northwood home
THE axe is set to fall on an aged Oak tree blamed for causing structural damage to a property in Northwood.
The overgrown roots of the tree, which is between 80 and 100 years old, are said to be responsible for subsidence and cracks in the walls of a chalet bungalow in Links Way.
An application to fell the protected tree, which stands in the Copsewood Estate Area of Special Local Character, was marked for urgent discussion by Hillingdon Council, amid fears of a sizeable compensation claim by the home owners, who have put their property on the market.
They have indicated the estimated repair costs are likely to vary between £10,000 and £180,000.
The proposals were agreed by the council's north planning committee on Thursday (19) evening.
Some 22 residents signed a petition against the scheme, arguing there was no need to remove the 'healthy, impressive and majestic specimen'.
One said: "The evidence for a relationship between the tree and damage in the current house is tenuous and may become superfluous in the case of rebuilding.
Another added: "To remove this tree would be prejudicial to the character and property of the estate, but would also be an act of vandalism.
"Removal of healthy trees must be resisted; an oak takes an age to grow, a day to cut down."
But the meeting heard potential alternatives, such as pruning the tree, which is about 30 feet away from the property, or inserting a root barrier, were simply not viable.
Principle tree and landscape conservation officer, John Lawson, said: "In my experience this tree is part of a group with a relatively low value and compared to other trees is not conspicuous in the landscape.
"There isn't enough space for a root barrier and if we pruned the tree, there would be nothing left and its value would be zero."
Councillor Michael Markham (Manor, Con), said: "I'm not a tree expert but it does seem that the tree is obviously causing the problem inside the house.
"It's going to be expensive for the applicant to take remedial action and this tree is not outstanding. We have little option other than to reluctantly approve this scheme.
Councillor Brian Stead (Brunel, Con), added: "We also have a responsibility to all the residents in Hillingdon when spending their money.
"If we make a decision that will result in a large compensation battle, I don't think that is behaving responsibly."
What do you think? Are you the home owner? Email Gazette reporter Siba Matti at email@example.com or post a comment below.
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