Can a planner rock up and slap on a TPO?

(34 Posts)

We have a tree in our garden when we move that has no TPO.

We're hoping to build an extension and we will invite the planner round for advice (no choice in our area)

If he notices the massive tree (!) will he slap one on?

EastwickWitch Thu 03-Oct-13 19:07:38

We had this.
No TPO, so we had it felled before the planners came.
Cost a bomb mind.


I so don't want to take the risk of it preventing an extension (it's about 40 feet from where it will be) but I don't want to fell it - it's a massive 300 year old at least beautiful oak

It's clearly been planted when the important trees on the estate were planted and it baffles me that there's no TPO confused

racmun Thu 03-Oct-13 19:11:31

In short yes they can put an emergency TPO on it, that's why developers usually clear the site before applying for planning to avoid problems.

ILikeBirds Thu 03-Oct-13 19:11:47

What species is the tree? Does it have any amenity value, i.e. does it add to the streetscene or is it only really visible in your garden?

I would have thought it unlikely but it depends how officious your council are on these sorts of things.

wonkylegs Thu 03-Oct-13 19:12:06

TPOs are given out due to the worthiness of the specific specimen or group of trees not due to the size or maturity of the tree.
We have 40 or 50 trees in or around our garden some are mature some are small all sorts of types - none have TPOs. However a whole row of trees in next doors garden and the avenue of trees down the road outside are all TPO'd.
See here for guidance on what they consider and how the process works.

EastwickWitch Thu 03-Oct-13 19:13:22

What about taking advice from an arborist? They have fantastic knowledge. We had a really old yew that was successfully trimmed to half its size. Pollarded I think is the term.

It's not a new estate but the whole posh area was part of a big country estate 300 years ago.

The house I'm moving to is 1979ish.

It's on a hill and you can see the tree from half a mile away but not from the street easily.

ILikeBirds Thu 03-Oct-13 19:13:56

Estate and 300 years old so I guess you're not talking about a modern housing estate smile

I would have thought more likely in these circumstances and can be sought within 24 hours. Are you sure there isn't anything else other than a TPO protecting the tree, no conservation area?

Yes, modern housing estate but on an ancient country estate.

It matches a group deliberately placed (all have tpo's) in the park about 500 yards away - which makes me think it was deliberately planted at the same time

ILikeBirds Thu 03-Oct-13 19:17:15

Could it have been covered by the original planning permission for the house in the 70s?

Maybe but it's not on any of the documentation - and there's loads of restrictive covenants on the house

lalalonglegs Thu 03-Oct-13 19:20:46

If it's 300 years old and an osk, I think it may well get a TPO. But 40ft is a ressonable distance awsy from a building - that's longer than most gardens round here - I don't understand how it will affect it.

Can we just pretend for a second that there is one and our numpty solicitor doesn't tell us or read the documents (he is nightmarishly useless)

Would we be penalised if we had it trimmed or taken down even if we didn't know ?

We have asked btw - he says no TPO

quoteunquote Thu 03-Oct-13 19:21:28

You will probably find that to remove a tree of such an age will require permission anyway, all trees like that in our area would require permission to remove.

I very much doubt it will get in the way of a build, get a tree survey to ascertain it's health, then you can make an informed decision,

Try to regard it as an asset, you will piss off the community, planning, and council if you fell it without discussion.

Talk to them, they are reasonable, never hide anything or have dubious behaviour, or they will pay you special attention during builds, and considering planning permission.

There is always a solution, chopping down three hundred year old trees should be at the very end of a long list.

JustinBsMum Thu 03-Oct-13 19:22:16

What kind of tree is it? There are many diseases effecting trees - sudden oak death, ash die back and something that kills chestnut trees are some. Probably this is taken into consideration but don't know if it would result in trees being more likely to be permitted to being felled or not.

Bit difficult to explain lala

Imagine the garden is 40 feet wide and 70 foot long

The house is only 17 foot wide leaving a giant 'area' on the side of the house for extension.

The tree is as far away as can be at the top left of the garden but is on a slope so about 6 feet above where the extension would be

Meaning (I assume) that the roots must go all over the garden including into the possible extension area

wonkylegs Thu 03-Oct-13 19:25:52

Just because a tree has a TPO doesn't necessarily prevent you extending near it. It will however mean you will need to get specialist in to assist with designing foundations and excavation that doesn't disrupt the roots & kill the tree. You will also be required to do a tree survey and protect the tree during development.
Even if it's not protected you need to consider the tree when developing, roots can cause damage and in certain soils this can be true even after a tree is felled.
There are some very cool examples of trees being incorporated into buildings and being built around but that's probably a step too far grin however you will need to consider it's effect on your foundations whatever it's status.

I already said I didn't want to knock it down

Neither do I want to have my ( necessary ) extension turned down when everyone else in the street has one due to me having a massive tree without a TPO on it

SwedishEdith Thu 03-Oct-13 19:27:23

Oh, can I hijack slightly? We have 2 that I've been, unofficially, told have no TPO. But if I ring the council to check, is that likely to prompt them to think that they've missed them and they should have one?

I want to know the answer to that too

I'm worried if I call him for planning advice and even mention giant faraway tree he will be round with his flip chart before shit falls off shovel

quoteunquote Thu 03-Oct-13 19:31:02

I have seen a few fucked builds from people thinking they can do what you are suggesting and finding that the community and the planners feel very aggrieved.

As a contractor for over twenty years, I would really recommend being open and honest, and consulting the council, the consequences are far more of a pain, trust me.

If you slightly adjust your approach/attitude towards planning you will find the whole process goes far more smoothly and cheaply, think working together, rather than them and us, which always adds at least 25% in costs, time and 100% more stress.

and loss any underhand approach, information share with anyone who is interested, if you start behaving in a secretive manner, everyone will focus on you.

oh and it is your responsibility to approach them and ask.

quoteunquote - any idea of the cost of a tree survey?

I have asked - well, I paid my solicitor to ask grin

ILikeBirds Thu 03-Oct-13 19:33:15

TPOs are part of the Land Charges register which you can inspect at council offices free of charge (although you may need to make an appointment)

Thanks Ilikebirds - I'm looking at the map now - it's on the council planning website - no reference to tree

quoteunquote Thu 03-Oct-13 19:55:21

No because I get mine free, they aren't a lot especially for one tree (£125 tops), I'm surprised your insurance / mortgage company hasn't insisted on one.

I always get all trees on any of the properties I am responsible for surveyed, it means you can make informed decisions, and your insurance is valid,

Once I have had a survey done, I have a qualified tree surgeon visit every year, inspect and maintain. This way we never have any surprises.

Just google(other tax paying search engines available) tree surveys and the name of your area, get a quote.

The mortgage company wouldn't know - the guy they got to value it didn't visit the house grin

In fact, weirdly, it's as if no one can see the tree but me hmm

It's not on the plans, the estate agent didn't point it out, the solicitor didn't know the boundaries of the property.

I've just done an online quote for a tree survey for one tree in this area - it's £349 plus vat shock

Maybe this includes other services...

Like turning it into naice garden furniture

MaggieW Thu 03-Oct-13 20:56:09

In our area (SW London) TPOs are only awarded if a tree is a public amenity and accessible to all. No tress in private gardens can have one applied to them.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrandPoohBah Fri 04-Oct-13 00:01:23

Nope, I manage blocks of flats with TPOs on trees (including one right in the middle of a car park with roots encroaching on the drains of the block - still limited in what we can do).

To be honest if there are no restrictive covenants on the property it's unlikely that there's a TPO. Call your council, give them your postcode and find out. They're usually fine!

maxmissie Fri 04-Oct-13 07:17:20

Just thought would point out that even if you don't ask for advice from the planning office about your proposed extension, and just put an application in, the planning officer should still come round to do a site visit once you have submitted the application. So the planners are pretty likely to spot the tree at some point.

They could put a tpo on it at any point as well; before an application is submitted or after.

But as others have pointed out it might or might not be worthy of a tpo, trees usually have to have public amenity value for one to be put on, or it might not be very healthy. The council might also have a tree officer who the planners may ask to look at the tree to see if worthy of tpo. Also the extension may or may not affect the tree or it may affect it but still be ok to do the extension.

thelittlemothersucker Fri 04-Oct-13 10:48:20

My neighbours have just built a two storey garage (there's a room in the roof) v close to a protected tree - think six feet. They had to have the foundations specially assessed, but got permission easily enough.

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