By News Reporters

Street tree.
A healthy tree on Warren Street was cut down to prevent its roots damaging a building.

Residents living near the junction of Warren Street and Cleveland Street in Fitzrovia are angry about the loss of a healthy tree which was cut down by Camden Council because its roots were potentially a threat to a nearby building.

A note was posted on the tree in March saying it had become necessary to remove the tree. It was then cut down in April.

The tree was apparently removed because its roots were causing subsidence to a nearby building. Camden Council told local residents the tree will be replaced by one with a smaller root system. 

Fitzrovia News understands that the tree was removed to prevent a possible insurance claim from owners of the building behind where the tree was growing.

Councillor Tulip Siddiq, Camden’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities, said: “The tree was removed as it was causing tree root damage to a building nearby, and we intend to plant a replacement tree with a smaller root system. The Council only ever removes trees if they are dangerous, dying or due to tree root damage claims and this is always a last resort.”

However, residents living nearby say the the reasons for removing the tree are spurious.

Tree stump.
All that’s left of a healthy tree after concerns about root damage to nearby building.

Rebecca Hossack, who lives in Warren Street and had paid for the tree to be planted many years ago as part of a project she initiated to green Fitzrovia, said: “It is a great shame that this flourishing and beautiful tree, that brought a splash of softening greenery to west end of Warren Street, has been obliterated by the council just — it would appear — to assuage the routine anxieties of an insurance company.

“Whatever the council says, this was unnecessary. I am sick of small lollypop trees being planted all over London. This was a beautiful flowing tree with a bird’s nest in it. Totally healthy,” said Ms Hossack.

Other residents agreed. Sophie Pandit told Fitzrovia News: “I am very upset by the loss of the tree, not least because it was situated opposite our flat and I took great pleasure in looking out on it, but also because there seems to be a lack of transparency about the reason for its removal. It was the sole tree on the western end of Warren Street. Its loss will be keenly felt.”

The tree was well established and local people said it greatly enhanced that end of the street. The only other tree is on the corner of Fitzroy Street, about 150 metres away.

41 Warren Street, London Borough of Camden, W1T, UK

9 replies on “Anger at loss of “flourishing and beautiful” tree in Warren Street”

  1. I am horrified at the reckless behaviour of Camden Council. The tree was appreciated by all who live locally and I was quite unaware that a sentence had been pronounced on it. Camden’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities has a lot to answer for – presumably the building’s owners had insurance against subsidence if it was likely to happen ? The decision to cut it down smells of collusion.
    A Ward

  2. Caroline Faulkner

    Why not get trees which have deeper root systems, not shorter ? The foundations are not deep in Warren Street, so many species would grow for decades without disturbing any building foundations.

    More money, but worth it.

  3. This was a wonderful tree, ruthlessly destroyed. It will be sadly missed. It was planted not so many years ago – five or six. It grew splendidly and was an enormous asset to the west end of the street. Planting trees in London streets is a very common activity for local councils and one to be encouraged. Just look at the almost over-the-top number that Westminster have authorised in Bolsover Street. So the difference between a ‘good’ tree and a ‘bad’ tree in terms of possible future root damage must be common knowledge amongst those experts, within the bowels of local councils, who pronounce and adjudicate upon what trees may or may not be permitted. Indeed, it must be one of the first and main considerations. At the time this tree was planted I wrote to Camden to ask if we could not have a few more like it. They replied that it would be possible only if individuals or companies were prepared to foot the bill. The estimate was around £500 a tree. Enhancement of our environment is obviously not within their compass. Rebecca seems to have been negligently advised by council experts in the choice of tree. I hope at least she gets her £500 back. Meanwhile I suggest Camden experts approach Westminster experts for some advice on how to do the job properly. We don’t want them making the same mistake again all over the borough, do we?

  4. ..think part of issue might have arisen from certain offices dumping rubbish around it, creating dry, hard ground surface … no wonder it was spreading it’s roots for water!. Would welcome a re-planting, it’s an up beat sight and life force in the neighbourhood, especially just off the ebb and flow of Euston Road… plus, I enjoyed seeing it’s seasonal change from my windows.

  5. Dissapointing to say the least, especially with all the recent initiatives from local residents to add trees to our area. With Euston/Marylebone Road often breaching air quality standards, and research pointing to trees having a positive effect, this is pretty low. I would have thought that if Camden was serious about replacing the tree, it would have done a like for like replacement on the day as I would assume the same contractors responsible for it’s removal are probably likely to be the same involved in a mooted replanting.

  6. There was a lack of trees on this street before this tree was taken out, and now that situation has been made worse by Camden council. Westminster seem to be perfectly able to plant many trees throughout without issue, so I expect Camden to make good on their promise to replace the tree and expect this to be part of a wider plan to increase the number of trees on the street as a whole. Warren street is in desperate need of enhancement, and some trees along the length of it would only help the look and feel of the whole area. Can we please have a proper plan instead of knee jerk reactions all the time, a plan that has proper greenery along the length of what is a very busy and highly used street in Fitzrovia.

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