Press release from Tree Trust for Haringey and Cranley Gardens Residents Association
The Imaginary Tree:
Haringey Council’s tree policy is put to the test
Haringey’s policy for the management of Council-owned trees is being put to the test by an Isle of Man company responsible for the development of new houses on the site of the former garden centre in Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill.
A garage has been built immediately behind one of the street’s cherished cherry blossom trees. Haringey Council has now received an application to have a vehicle crossover constructed exactly where the tree is, which would necessitate its removal.
That would however be contrary to the Council’s policy which states:
‘Permission to remove trees to allow for new crossovers will not be granted except in extenuating circumstances or there is a good arboricultural reason to do so.’
(Tree Strategy 2008-2011, Section 5.4 vehicle crossovers)
The garage got planning permission, but only on the basis that there wasn’t a street tree in front of it.
Haringey’s development control should be able to confirm that planning permission was gained with the street tree being deleted from the planning application and the developer answering ‘no’ to the question on the planning application form asking whether any trees need to be removed or pruned to carry out the proposal. The application went before the Planning Inspectorate too, at which stage the developer appealed for planning permission on the basis that ‘all those trees currently existing in the surrounding area will be retained’.
The tree that isn’t there but ‘needs to be removed’:
“The Council does have a robust tree policy and the fact that the existence of the street tree shown in the picture was denied in the planning procedures does not give the Council carte blanche to contravene its own policies. It beats me how this has gone through to this stage, but it would send the wrong message to developers everywhere if Haringey Council allowed the removal of this tree” says Peter Corley, Chair of Tree Trust for Haringey. “The young tree was planted some years ago to replace one which was damaged by a vehicle collision and can be seen to be in a good condition despite damage inflicted on it since construction works began”.
Picture of the tree taken 26th September, 2009:
Haringey Council’s view is that ‘trees play an essential role in towns and cities providing a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits. Some benefits are measurable – such as improvements in air quality, many are not, but they can have a positive impact on the lives of those living and working in the urban environment.’ (http://www.haringey.gov.uk/index/environment_and_transport/leisure_nature_and_conservation/nature_and_conservation_trees/treestrategy.htm