Tree damaging homes in Hampstead Garden Suburb could escape the chop

The 300-year-old oak tree in Corringham Road that is the centre of a planning row. Picture: Nigel Su

The 300-year-old oak tree in Corringham Road that is the centre of a planning row. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

An oak tree which surveyors claim is causing subsidence and significant damage to neighbouring houses could be saved from being chopped down after planning officers received objections from residents.

The oak, which planners say may be up to 300 years old and predates its surrounding properties in Hampstead Garden Suburb, is said to have caused cracks in walls, buckled floors and subsidence to two properties in Corringham Road.

After plans were submitted by the owner of one of the affected houses asking for the oak to be chopped down, residents sent 52 objections demanding the tree should to be protected.

They said the tree’s “historic age”, iconic status as a landmark in the area, and its role in “filtering pollution and noise” should be considered. But should the oak go unfelled it is claimed that the cost of damage to one of the properties could reach £26,000.

Adrienne Letay, on whose land the tree is located, said: “I’ve got an awful lot of cracks, my floor is buckling from what I can only assume are the tree’s roots and I’m also suffering subsidence.

“It’s without doubt a beautiful tree and the current favourite of the neighbours, but it’s costing me quite a lot of money. Every year I’m spending almost £1,000 to have it trimmed back and I’ve got two other great big trees in my garden that are also costing me a fortune.

“The only reason I didn’t try to get it chopped down before is because I knew I wouldn’t get permission.”

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Her neighbour, whose insurers submitted the request to fell the tree, has seen his house suffer cracks, subsidence and heave.

Barnet planning officers recommend “less significant” trees in his garden should be felled first to see if that solves the problem.

Planners note that trees like the ancient oak one were “an integral part of the design ethos during the original development of the Garden Suburb” and so should be given added protection.

Consultation on the proposed felling received no messages of support from other neighbours.

A decision on the tree’s future is due to be taken by Barnet’s planning committee tonight (Thursday).