Campaigners are planning a vigil as a tree they have battled to save from "greedy" insurance companies faces the axe.

The 123-year-old London plane tree in Stroud Green has been the centre of a long legal dispute, with Allianz and Aviva - insurers of two homes in Oakfield Road - blaming it for causing subsidence and calling on Haringey Council to cut it down.

After four previous felling attempts, the tree appeared to be safe temporarily after one of the householders himself took legal action against the council, arguing the houses needed underpinning.

But after a High Court claim from the other house's owner seeking damages and a felling order, supported by their insurer Allianz, the council has decided to chop it down.

In a letter to Oakfield Road residents dated October 26, the council's tree and nature conservation team said it had made a fresh decision after considering all the evidence, but that it was "deeply regrettable" it was in this position.

It pledged no work would take place before November 23, and that further court action could still stop the felling.

The council has defended the claim and the case has been transferred to the Central London County Court, with a hearing due on November 27.

The Haringey Tree Protectors are planning a vigil at the tree on Sunday morning.

They claim Allianz is refusing to wait for a Financial Ombudsman Service report into whether work on the house’s foundations must be done, and that Haringey Council has flawed legal advice and need to wait for the ombudsman's final ruling.

Ham & High: A Haringey Tree Protectors banner in the branches of the plane tree in Oakfield RoadA Haringey Tree Protectors banner in the branches of the plane tree in Oakfield Road (Image: Haringey Tree Protectors)

The campaign group claims the tree has become a test case, exposing how home insurers "sue and bully" councils and homeowners, calling for felling when more costly underpinning may be a better solution.

They say both insurers are relying on loss adjuster Crawfords to help them avoid vital structural work for the households.

Spokesperson Gio Iozzi said: "Allianz are back again to bully our council into felling. This insurer - who make billions in profit every year – won’t tolerate leaving even one tree standing; such blatant greed in a climate crisis is irrational.

Ham & High: Protesters put up placards on the trees against insurance companies involved. A banner reading 'Allianz Aviva stop felling our trees'Protesters put up placards on the trees against insurance companies involved. A banner reading 'Allianz Aviva stop felling our trees' (Image: Haringey Tree Protectors)

"Allianz claim they’re passionate about renewables and carbon offsets, while at the same time their policies are stripping totally healthy mature trees off our streets so they can dodge underpinning houses. It’s a corrupt system. We want our trees to live. Insurers need to take a long hard look at their green credentials and stop blaming trees.

"Councils need to stand up to insurers too. If Haringey fell this tree it will be tragically short-sighted. Thousands more trees will be at risk as the climate crisis worsens. Trees will actually help insurers and councils avoid thousands of future flood claims, by dispersing and absorbing flood water."

A Haringey Council spokesperson said: “The difficult and final decision to remove the tree is based on consideration of all the evidence submitted on behalf of the owners of the properties.

“If the tree remains, expert estimations tell us the council risks facing an insurance claim of up to £1million in relation to one of the properties (and perhaps double that if a claim were to be made in respect of the other property), which would be better spent on delivering key frontline services. 

“This case highlights the dilemma facing councils up and down the country.  It is wrong that councils are having to make the choice between saving a tree and paying huge sums of taxpayers’ money or felling a tree.”

An Allianz Insurance spokesperson said: "It would not be appropriate for us to comment at the moment due to the ongoing process. Ultimately this claim has always been about the solidity of two homes and we have always viewed removing the tree as a last resort. We are communicating with our customer and next steps will be dependent on Haringey Council.”

Crawfords has been approached for comment.