Our 300 year old Tree - Neighbours Conservatory

Our 300 year old Tree - Neighbours Conservatory

Postby Snoopy2010 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:17 am

300 year old Oak Tree on our land, is 16m tall and sits on clay strata soil
Our house and Neighbours house built in mid-80's
Neighbours conservatory extension was built a few years after the house, 16m from the tree
Neighbours bought house 3 years ago and have subsequently claimed from their insurance company for the Conservatory coming away from the house.

We have been contacted by the loss adjusters of our Neighbours insurance company requesting that we remove the tree. They have included reports on movement of the ground around the conservatory and a report that an oak root was found in a bore hole close to the conservatory. It suggests the removal of the tree to stump level. The report says that the conservatory is built on 60cm foundations which are substandard for Clay strata soil with no vegetation, but being a conservatory it doesn't require planning permission and is therefore exempt from building control approval. Poorly founded structures will be vulnerable to volumetric changes of the clay regardless of the presence of trees. Thus cutting down the tree may simply achieve a reduced magnitude in seasonal movement but the movement will continue. Neither our house which is closer or the neighbours has suffered from subsidence. Due to this we sent a letter stating we do not feel we are obliged to remove the tree.

Our Concerns
1. By removing the healthy Oak we are worried that the subsequent ground heave will effect the structure of our house and the neighbours, and by removing a healthy tree we will nulify our insurance
2. We are worried that by removing the tree we wil be admitting liability and be responsible for all costs - we cannot afford
3. We do not want to remove a beautiful ancient Oak tree.

Basically, I am looking for any advice anyone has. Is it worth fighting and possible legal fees, or is the end result going to be that we have to remove the tree anyway? The neighbours say they like the tree and don't want it removed, but the Adjusters say it is a nuisance. They are also concerned with point 1 of my concerns.

The whole episode is causing a great deal of stress to me and I fear for my health. I just want a quick end to the whole saga but it feels like a lose/lose situation - if I fight the removal of the tree, I worry about potential costs adding up. If I remove the tree, I worry that my house will fall in the hole in the gound!

Please Help! :cry:
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Re: Our 300 year old Tree - Neighbours Conservatory

Postby juliet » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:36 pm

Talk to the council and see if they would like to put a tree preservation order on it and that will help you to keep it
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Re: Our 300 year old Tree - Neighbours Conservatory

Postby Whomping Willow » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:35 pm

Sounds like a common problem.

You post three questions:

i) the effect of tree removal on your house; inform your insurers (both your contents insurer who is responsible for your liability and your house insurer who is responsible for your house) and discuss. Your house insurer should then be responsible for anything that happens to your house as long as you have standard heave/subsidence cover.

ii) the ABI has a domestic tree root agreement; many insurers have signed up to this and you could seek reassurance from the sender of the letters that they are party to the agreement; if so, and as long as you comply with the requested tree work it is unlikely you will hear from them again.

iii) this is more problematic and it is more difficult to answer your question as the facts are important. YOu need professional advice - an arboricultural consultant maybe
Whomping Willow
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Re: Our 300 year old Tree - Neighbours Conservatory

Postby APC » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:48 pm

You say that the report states that the conservatory is set on 60cm foundations which are described as "substandard". The builders of the conservatory should have factored in the clay soil and laid down suitable foundations which they have apparently neglected to do. So the cheap option is to blame the tree, which hopefully is still standing today.
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Re: Our 300 year old Tree - Neighbours Conservatory

Postby Brainsey » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:21 pm

Holy thread revival Batman :shock: x2
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