CAMDEN Council has refused to give… Camden Council planning permission to cut down a “magnificent” ash tree after one Town Hall department disagreed with another.
Plans were drawn up on behalf of the council to fell the tree at Grove End Lodge, close to the Denyer House estate in Dartmouth Park, on the grounds that it was diseased and dangerous.
But the proposals were blocked on Thursday when the council’s director of environment ruled that there was no reason to get the chainsaws in.
Neighbours had written to the Town Hall asking for the tree to be spared, insisting that it was loved by people living in the area.
Eileen Wilmott, from the Dartmouth Park Conservation Area Advisory Committee, said: “It has huge amenity value, especially to the residents of Denyer House. I deplore the exposure of its roots and would’ve liked more details of its disease and damage to property. This magnificent tree means a great deal to many local residents.”
But residents in nearby Twisden Road were split on its merits. Olga Way told the Town Hall that its height “has been of concern to us for years as it has completely blocked sunlight from our garden and back of the house in the summer when in leaf”. She said the felling of the tree would allow her family a view of the sky again.
However, Nori Howard, also of Twisden Road, said: “The quiet pocket of land where the ash sits, set back from the roads, is even in daytime a haven for birds.”
The council pressed ahead with their felling plans until last week when Rachel Stopard, director of culture and environment, said: “The tree is considered to have a significant safe useful life expectancy and appears to be of value to a number of residents given the responses the council received from public consultation.”
Asked how it had got to the stage where council departments could not seem to agree, Labour regeneration chief Councillor Phil Jones said: “The council as planning authority is distinct from the rest of the organisation in terms of legal responsibilities and personnel.
“It’s quite right that the council itself should be subject to the same checks and scrutiny as developers or private citizens when proposing work that requires planning permission.”
From Camden New Journal
Published: 31 March, 2016
By RICHARD OSLEY