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Church News

Tree continues to damage London church after local council reject removal plea

by Sophie Drew

A church is London has found themselves in a battle with the local council over the status of a bay tree.

The 10-metre spruce is causing damage to the church wall, but the authorities say that the positives outweigh the costs, as the neighbours enjoy the view. 

The tree was planted just centimetres from the Pimlico place of worship, causing the wall to crack. 

Restoration work was carried out in order to fix the St Gabriel’s Church wall, but clergy and congregants remain concerned about future damage. 

However, Westminster City Council disagree; they claim that the tree is a ‘valuable contribution to the amenity’, and predict no further damage to the Grade II-listed property.

A Tree Protection Order (TPO) has been placed on the topiary, barring the church from trimming it or cutting it down. 

A planning report said: "The TPO was made because the tree makes a valuable contribution to amenity, to the outlook from nearby properties and to the character and appearance of the Pimlico conservation area... The tree is a mature specimen and appears to be in good condition."

However, St Gabriel’s Church argues that the aesthetic benefits of the tree are not equal to the issues the property is facing. 

In the report, they responded: “The amenity value of the bay tree does not outweigh the problems associated with the damage it is causing to the boundary wall of the Grade II* listed building, which cannot be repaired properly with the tree in situ.”

“It is unlikely that it was intended or envisaged that the bay tree would have attained this size based on its location only 500mm from the wall and that many bay trees are commonly planted as shrubs and are managed by regular trimming.”

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