A 'large and impressive' oak tree has thwarted a developer’s plans to demolish a Middlesex property and build two new houses in its stead.
The High Court backed a Government planning inspector’s refusal of planning permission to Banner Homes Ltd in respect of a property, in Northwood, Middlesex, ruling that the repositioned house, if approved, could lead to a subsequent application to fell or substantially reduce the oak tree.
The inspector had said in his decision that the tree would cause a significant level of overshadowing of the reduced garden of the rebuilt property, particularly in the summer months, and that the tree would have a 'dominating and oppressive' impact on future occupiers, encouraging them to apply to fell it or reduce its size.
Rejecting Banner Homes’ appeal , the Court accepted that 'the value of a protected tree is not an absolute' but held that the future of the oak would be undermined if it were seen as seriously impinging on the amenities of occupiers.
Banner Homes had hoped to demolish the existing property, a four-bedroom 1920s detached house in an Area of Special Character, and then replace it and erect a new dwelling on adjacent land.
The inspector had found that the oak, which is protected by a Tree Preservation Order, is 'a large and impressive tree which in my opinion makes an important contribution to the verdant character and appearance of the area'.