Tree preservation orders -root removals/subsidence

UK Outfitters

EssexBigMac

Well-Known Member
Hopefully there are some tree surgeons or council planners on here.
I’m looking to buy a nice house, the issue being there is a great big tree 2m from the house in the garden with a TPO. The roots of the tree have already lifted the patio and coming towards the house.
Who can I speak to before purchasing the house to see if it is a future problem?
 

Finch

Well-Known Member
You can usually obtain permission for removal if a tree threatens the structure of a building. My concern would be that if the tree is large and it's that close to the foundations you'll probably have trouble even when it's removed. If it's caused heave damage already, you could very well get further problems when it's gone because the ground will settle back as the root decays and leaves a void, and groundwater levels will adjust to the absence of the tree's demand. A lot depends on the species of tree, the nature of the ground it's growing in and the structure and depth of the building's foundations.

It's not simply a question of getting permission to remove the tree. There could be a substantial amount of expensive remedial work. You need advice from a structural surveyor as well as an arborist.
 
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timbrayford

Well-Known Member
You can usually obtain permission for removal if a tree threatens the structure of a building. My concern would be that if the tree is large and it's that close to the foundations you'll probably have trouble even when it's removed. If it's caused heave damage already, you could very well get further problems when it's gone because the ground will settle back as the root decays and leaves a void, and groundwater levels will adjust to the absence of the tree's demand. A lot depends on the species of tree, the nature of the ground it's growing in and the structure and depth of the building's foundations.

It's not simply a question of getting permission to remove the tree. There could be a substantial amount of expensive remedial work. You need advice from a structural surveyor as well as an arborist.
Just an add on to the good advice above removing some species such as willows may result in the ground rising due to heave which may cause structural damage.
 

Finch

Well-Known Member
Certainly, if the tree is dead you will automatically get permission for removal. TPOs apply to living trees not dead ones. But you still need to obtain that permission formally if you don't want to get your collar felt and risk a very expensive fine.

Still doesn't alter the structural complications though. Proceed with caution.
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
Arbtalk is the way to go, won't be a straight forward answer even from knowledgeable folk. But some very clued up folk on there
Will still depend on council area and wot that individual tree officer is like or even wether they like the tree surgeon that has the job.

U won't get a specific/definitive answer online as sort of thing u really need to see it.
A photo, tree species and size ( DBH is the standard, which is just daimeter at breast hight, so 1.5m up stem) and if u knew the soil type n that area.
The above info should give them enough info to make and educated guess plus possibly area as they might know of the TO's are like

I imagine insurance companies or esp mortgage companies will want a structural and arboricultural survey done but it really will all come down to soil type.
Even cutting it down can have issues as others have said.
 

Dochol

New Member
Seconded - Please be very, very cautious about effect on structure with or without tree removal. Prior knowledge = no insurance nor comeback against surveyor / tree “expert”. Why have the vendors not sorted before trying to sell the property .....
 

shakey jake

Well-Known Member
we have a massive sycamore in the front garden, mortgage company wanted survey, id lovebthe tree gone but no way it will happen, lets hope for some strong winds
 

EssexBigMac

Well-Known Member
I called a few structural engineers and tree surgeons and all said I need to speak to the local planning department tree inspector- surprise surprise three calls later with promises to be called back and nothing. Why are planning departments so useless and unreachable? The structural engineer said if the tree was there before build, the foundations should take this into consideration e.g. piling the plans are too old to be on public forum but if I do get through to someone in planning I’ll ask them to send me it.
 

Tagoat

Well-Known Member
Bloody hell! :( I didn't think they (the TPO bods) were bothered about Sycamores. I'm going 'thru the hoops to have work done on a 250yr old Oak ...... with TPO at the moment in my garden
 

Home Loader

Well-Known Member
@EssexBigMac do all your contact with the planning department via email, it may be worth requesting a copy of their terms and conditions! Somethings are granted by default if not responded to in a reasonable time. If they are proving useless you may get permission to remove by their own inefficiency.
 

Stumpy2

Well-Known Member
@EssexBigMac do all your contact with the planning department via email, it may be worth requesting a copy of their terms and conditions! Somethings are granted by default if not responded to in a reasonable time. If they are proving useless you may get permission to remove by their own inefficiency.
Permission by default only applies to conservation area notices with no response from the council after 42 days. Unless you have permission from the council in writing do NOT cut down a TPO tree. It’s a criminal offence and you can be prosecuted in magistrates or crown court. In crown court it’s unlimited fines...

If you are buying the house it’s up to you, your surveyors and your mortgage provider to research the situation and make a judgment call based on evidence. Buyer beware, and best of luck.

(I’ve been a council tree officer for 20+ years, and I always reply to emails!)
 
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