Council refuse to cut down tree which neighbour claims is causing structural damage to their home

View of the Himalayan Birch Tree which has had a Tree Preservation Order placed on it.
-Credit: (Image: Google)


A tree has been protected from being cut down, despite the neighbour claiming it is damaging their house. East Cambridgeshire District Council has issued a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for a tree next to 104 Broad Street in Ely. The protection order means the tree cannot be cut down without the district council’s approval.

The TPO was proposed after the owner of the house next door asked to cut the tree down due to concerns it was damaging their home. However, planning officers said not enough information had been provided to the district council to prove the tree was causing damage.

In a report presented to the planning committee this week (June 5) officers said: “The tree is a prominent feature, visible from the public realm, in good health, it offers a significant visual contribution to the amenity of the local landscape in this part of Ely where there are a limited amount of trees visible to those using Broad Street.”

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The neighbour had objected to the TPO being placed on the tree. In a letter to the district council they said: “The tree in question is causing structural damage to my property, which you were notified about in November from my insurance company, following months of investigations.

“If the TPO remains in place and the tree works needed to stabilise my house now and to prevent future instability are refused, then my property remains at constant risk of structural stability, greatly impacting on the house price, should I wish to sell. I have been advised by my insurance company that [the district council] will be liable for any future damage to my property should the tree cause further structural damage.”

The neighbour also said they refuted the claim that the tree offered “significant public amenity”, telling the district council that if the tree was cut down a “lovely view” of a magnolia tree and the trees on Cherry Hill would still be visible. They said: “As a Himalayan Birch Tree, it is a non-native tree, not rare, and has no wildlife living within it. I would have no objection to it being replaced with a native species that is smaller, and not going to impact on the structural integrity of my house.”

However, councillors voted to support the order to protect the tree from being cut down. Councillor David Brown said he was happy to support the TPO, as he highlighted that if more information came forward to prove the tree was causing damage to the house in question, then they could reconsider cutting it down.

The chair of the planning committee, Councillor Bill Hunt, echoed these comments agreeing that the future of the tree could be reviewed if evidence came forward to show it was causing damage. Councillor Julia Huffer said it was a “beautiful tree” and that she believed cutting it down would be “detrimental to the street scene”.

For more planning notices in your area visit publicnoticeportal.uk.