Campaigners have hailed a "massive climbdown" by Haringey Council after it settled in a court battle over the felling of a tree.

The 123-year-old tree is safe "for now" in a reprieve for Stroud Green man Andrew Brenner, who made a last-minute intervention in March calling for a judicial review of the council's decision to fell it.

Mr Brenner had been in a dispute with insurance companies over subsidence affecting his and a neighbour's homes in Oakfield Road.

He wanted his house underpinned but the insurance companies blamed the tree and were calling on the council to fell it.

The tree had been the focus of protests since plans to chop it down were announced in April 2022.

The council has argued it could be liable for claims of £400,000 – or even £1 million – if the tree remains standing.

Mr Brenner wants to save the tree - and his intervention came on the same day that Haringey Council was seeking an injunction against campaign group Haringey Tree Protectors to stop them protesting near it so that it could be felled.

Mr Brenner had previously lodged a complaint about the insurance companies' approach with a financial ombudsman, whose report may finally decide the matter.

In the High Court on March 29 Judge Sir Ross Cranston refused Mr Brenner's application for a full judicial review, saying the council had not acted unlawfully, but an appeal was permitted.

The council settled the proceedings out of court on May 6, agreeing a settlement which included paying Mr Brenner's legal costs and withdrawing all decisions to fell the tree taken before that date.

A new decision will be reached when Mr Brenner and the insurance companies' loss adjustors have presented all their evidence.

Solicitor Richard Buxton, representing Mr Brenner, said: "A lot of effort went into saving the tree, at least for now.

"We had three high court hearings in the space of two weeks and then two decisions of the Court of Appeal within two weeks after that - something of a stressful record.

"So many trees in towns and cities are councils' responsibility so let's hope they take note of this case and apply the law more carefully in dealing with our trees in the future.

"Insurers should also realise that it is likely to be in their interests to be less heavy-handed and more constructive in dealing with the challenges that trees can present."

A council spokesperson said:  “We’ve listened carefully to Mr Brenner’s concerns and as a way forward have asked him and the loss adjusters to submit all the evidence they wish the council to consider before reaching a new decision on the future of the tree.  

"This approach has been agreed with Mr Brenner.” 

On a crowdfunder to help with their court costs, HTP said: "This is a massive climbdown on the part of Haringey Council which will undoubtedly going forward influence how they respond to community efforts to protect and prioritise local trees.

"This outcome was only achieved by the coming together of the local community, and activists and the significant national and local media coverage supporting the home owners, initially made possible by individuals supporting this Crowd Justice campaign."

To donate visit:  Haringey Tree Protectors - Defend the Oakfield Plane (