Campaign to protect 'century-old' lime tree in Highgate
- Credit: Polly Hancock
A group of residents in Highgate is campaigning against plans to cut down a lime tree they say has stood for a century or more.
The group – who live in North Hill Avenue – say to cut down the tree, which is protected by a tree protection order (TPO), would "transform" the character of the "charming cul-de-sac".
As the tree is subject to the TPO, the property's owner Mr Reno Savva has had to apply to Haringey for planning permission to remove it. An arboricultural report produced by Mr Savva's agent in the application, ROAVR Environmental, argues the tree needs to be removed due to its impact on the foundations of a collapsing wall.
The report states: "What is clear is that the lime tree is well within influencing distance of a single skinned wall (double width brick) with shallow foundations and can therefore be implicated as a causal factor."
Barry Benson lives in North Hill Avenue. He said: "We live in a charming cul-de-sac and we are very jealous of our environment. It would totally alter the character of the rod – turning it from a little cul-de-sac into a through road."
Barry said he and his neighbours agree the wall next to the tree needs to be replaced, but he added that they are "of the opinion it's not the tree causing the trouble".
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Cllr Liz Morris (Lib Dem, Highgate) also opposes the move. She said: “Losing this lovely mature tree will cause substantial harm to a pretty cul-de-sac in our conservation area. There is an obvious solution here – the applicant can rebuild the wall around the tree.
"I applaud the local community’s response to protect this tree, with over 30 objections so far, and I will be submitting a strong objection myself. ”
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In the arboricultural report, ROAVR Environmental's Matt Harmsworth states: "It is my opinion that replacement of the wall would not be possible with the tree remaining in place."
The Highgate Society and the Highgate Neighbourhood Forum have objected to the work. Michael Hammerson of the former's planning group said felling the tree would be an "an unacceptable solution" which would "cause substantial harm" to the local area.
Mr Savva did not respond to this paper's request for comment. Comments about the application can be made until July 1 on Haringey's planning portal at reference HGY/2021/1466.