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Anger over two-year wait for subsidence tree to get chop

PUBLISHED: 17:07 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:51 07 September 2010

The lime tree for the chop

The lime tree for the chop

DESPAIRING homeowners in Crouch End want to know why it has taken Haringey Council two years to axe a tree that is causing their properties to subside

DESPAIRING homeowners in Crouch End want to know why it has taken Haringey Council two years to axe a tree that is causing their properties to subside.

Residents living in Haslemere Road first contacted the council two years ago asking for the 30ft lime to be cut down to save further damage to their homes.

Writer and Ham&High contributor Michael Kustow was due to move out of his flat last Friday so that builders could put foundations under the floorboards. His collection of 10,000 books had been carefully packed up and he had made plans to move into alternative accommodation.

But hours before he was due to move, the council informed him that they would cut down the lime tree and his insurance company told him that he no longer had to move out.

However, he remains liable to pay £8,000 in rent already agreed for the alternative accommodation.

Mr Kustow, who is 68 and recovering from cancer, said: "Why did it take the council two years to make this decision? It looks suspiciously like both the council and my insurance company were keeping important matters to themselves.

"I now plan to sue the council and my insurance brokers for the costs incurred in my removal and for professional distress because as a full time writer this flat is my study, my library and my work place."

A council spokesperson said: "We don't take any decision to remove a tree lightly, particularly - as in this case - when it is both attractive and healthy. However, having gathered evidence from all parties involved, we have agreed to remove this tree in the next few weeks.

"This has been subject to an insurance claim. In these cases we compile evidence from our own experts and the claimants before making any decision. This process can take some time.


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