Wisteria hysteria ruins harmony in Nigel Kennedy's road
VIOLINIST Nigel Kennedy s neighbours in Belsize Park have been suffering because of the virtuoso s wisteria. They claim the plant has borrowed under their house causing thousands of pounds of damage
VIOLINIST Nigel Kennedy's neighbours in Belsize Park have been suffering because of the virtuoso's wisteria.
They claim the plant has borrowed under their house causing thousands of pounds of damage. After Mr Kennedy refused to prune it back, lawyers were called in.
Neighbours Harry and Carol Montagu had no problem with Mr Kennedy's lovingly cultivated climbing vine until cracks appeared on the front of their house - caused, they say, by subsidence damage.
"Core samples of soil under the house discovered traces of the roots of a plane tree and wisteria," said Mr Montagu, 81.
"I've got a good relationship with Mr Kennedy - this is not personal at all. He and his wife are very friendly.
"But the cracking will get worse in the summer. It's all over the place, on the porch too. We need the situation to be rectified as soon as possible as we need redecorating inside and out. It's nothing dramatic - it's a bore really."
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Mr Montagu, who has lived at his £1million home for 11 years, contacted his insurer Royal Sun Alliance over the issue and the firm asked Mr Kennedy to cut down the plant from his balcony. A spokesman for the insurer said that Mr Kennedy "flatly refused" the request and the matter has been passed to lawyers.
"The roots have caused leaks in the drains. It's causing water to escape, which is causing the cracking on the front of the property. It's not uncommon in that part of London," said the spokesman.
Aside from the wisteria hysteria, Mr Montagu said he gets on well with Mr Kennedy, and his Polish wife Agnieszka, who moved next door five years ago. He said Mr Kennedy installed sound-proofing to limit disturbance while practicing.
The Aston Villa-supporting violinist spends much of his time away from Belsize Park, preferring the environs of Krakow in Poland, where he has a home with his wife.
This week the Ham&High looks in depth at the issue of tree felling. See pages 28 & 29.