A homeowner who stopped the likely felling of a tree at the 11th hour did so as he did not believe the council would follow due process.

Haringey Council found itself in the High Court today (Thursday, March 16) hoping to stop an injunction brought by Stroud Green man Andrew Brenner over its bid to cut down a much-loved plane tree.

Mr Brenner lives in Oakfield Road, directly behind the tree that insurance firm Aviva/Allianz claims is causing subsidence to his house dating back to the 1990s.

The council says it risks an insurance claim of more than £400,000 if it is not felled.

In a complex case, Mr Brenner lodged his injunction in the early hours of yesterday (Wednesday, March 15) to stop Haringey Council from chopping down the tree without giving notice to other parties.

The council had taken possession of the tree on Sunday (March 12) amid disputed claims that protesters had been preparing to occupy the tree with climbing ropes ahead of a court hearing this week.

Haringey Council was due in court yesterday seeking an injunction against Haringey Tree Protectors and Persons Unknown from protesting at the tree.

That hearing had been adjourned from December to give time for a financial ombudsman report against the insurers to be submitted, which has not yet happened. 

But yesterday's hearing at Clerkenwell County Court, which could have been over in seconds, was adjourned again after Mr Brennan's intervention.

Charles Streeton, a barrister acting for Mr Brenner, said his action was necessitated by Haringey's action at "4.30 in the morning under the cover of darkness".

The concern was not only that they might fell the tree but "that they might also damage the tree in such a way to necessitate its felling".

He also said his client believed that the council "might act in a way to prejudice his case" with the insurers.

Stephen Evans, barrister for Haringey Council, said that until the judgement Mr Brenner did not indicate to the council that he wished the tree to remain or had "any difficulty with the council's decision to fell it".

But Mr Streeton said Mr Brenner had contacted Haringey councillor Mike Hakata and had been told that his email had been sent to the legal teams.

He said the council had never sent confirmation to its legal team that it would not fell the tree, and Mr Brenner did not know if the council would wait.

Mr Streeton also said the "nub" of his client's complaint was that the financial ombudsan looking into subsidence issues in Mr Brennan's home was waiting for Aviva to respond in order to submit its report.

"Aviva has held up that response and that's where the delay is coming from," he said.

Mr Evans said the council had put a notice on the tree last April but had been stopped from felling it by protestors, which was why in December it sought its injunction to stop them. 

He said a financial ombudsan report would look at engineering evidence.

He added that if there were any previous reports sought by Mr Brenner and his next door neighour against the felling of the tree, "we haven't seen them".

"The council's decision is made on sound grounds," he added.

Mr Evans also urged the judge, Mr Dan Squires, regarding the "grave financial inconvenience to the council if the injunction wasn't dismissed".

The judge said he was interested in why the county court district judge Alistair Redpath-Stephens had noted the financial ombudsman report when adjourning the December hearing.

Mr Squires said it was "odd waiting for an ombudsman" and wanted time to look through the papers submitted before making a decision. 

He said he would "hand the judgement down" tomorrow (Friday, March 17) at 9am, an hour beofre the hearing at the Clerkenwell County Court to determine Haringey Council's injunction against tree protestors.