A 123-year-old tree at the centre of a legal battle to save it from being cut down has had a stay of execution.

Insurance companies Allianz and Aviva have asked Haringey Council to fell the otherwise healthy plane tree in Oakfield Road, Stroud Green, blaming it for subsidence at two homes.

But one of the householders affected, Andrew Brenner, has again challenged Haringey Council's decision to fell it in court.

Mr Brenner says the tree was not the cause, and called instead for underpinning - which opponents say insurers dislike as it costs more.

And legal documents suggest the Financial Ombudsman Service has issued provisional decisions that the insurers should underpin the homes.

Haringey Council wrote to neighbours on October 26 saying that keeping it places "a significant financial liability" on the council.

The letter said the tree will not be felled before November 23 as the council may face a new legal challenge.

A council spokesperson has confirmed it fears a £1 million claim - or even double that if both companies claim.

Mr Brenner has applied for permission to seek judicial review of the decision to fell the tree at the High Court.

Mr Brenner, who has previously challenged the tree's felling, has now obtained an injunction against Haringey Council at the High Court to prevent felling of the tree until December 11.

The judge’s decision to award the injunction pointed to the fact that the council had indicated it would fell the tree on or about Friday (November 24), before legal proceedings were set to conclude.

A final Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) report into whether work on the house’s foundations must be done is also due by mid-December.

In the injunction order, Mrs Justice Lang said: “As I understand it, the FOS has issued provisional decisions that the insurers should carry out underpinning rather than pursuing removal of the tree”.

The other affected homeowner in Oakfield Road has, with the support of their insurer, Allianz, issued a claim for injunctive relief and damages resulting from nuisance allegedly caused by the tree roots of the plane tree.

They are seeking damages and an order requiring the council to fell the tree.  The claim is being defended by the council. 

The case has been transferred to the Central London County Court and the hearing is due to take place on Monday (November 27).

Referencing this decision in the injunction order, Mrs Justice Lang said: “In reaching this decision, I recognise that this may mean that the County Court decides to adjourn the injunction hearing for November 27.”

A Haringey Council spokesperson said: “The council has been fighting to save this tree since the original claim was made in 2014, and it is deeply regrettable that it has been put in this position. 

“If the tree remains, the council is 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. 

“In October, the council made the fresh and difficult decision to remove the tree based on careful consideration of all the evidence submitted on behalf of the owners of the properties. 

“On Wednesday, the High Court ordered that there be a hearing of the claimant’s application for permission to seek judicial review.

“The court also granted an interim injunction which prohibits the council from felling the tree at this time.  We will not be making any further comment until the latest legal proceedings are concluded.” 

A spokesperson for Allianz previously told Ham and High: “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.”