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Works to Trees and Hedges on the Suburb

Introduction

The founder of the Suburb, Henrietta Barnett, insisted that hedges were used to mark boundaries.  Many of the groups of houses were specifically designed to retain existing trees.  Today hedges still predominate and many trees are present, which contributes to the rural charm of the Suburb.  More information on the character of the Suburb is available from the Hampstead Garden Suburb Design Guidance

Applications for tree work

Tree work on the Suburb requires written consent from the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust under the Scheme of Management (for freehold properties) or the terms of leases.

Approval from the London Borough of Barnet is also required. (Click here to download Barnet's Guidance Notes for Tree Work PDF.)

Before carrying out tree work, please telephone the Trust office on 0208 455 1066 and book an appointment for a site visit with the Trust’s Arboricultural Consultant.  The Consultant’s diary is held by the Trust and he usually carries out Suburb appointments on Thursday mornings. Please do not make appointments directly with the Arboricultural Consultant. Appointments can only be made through the Trust office.

Once the Trust’s Consultant has visited your property he will forward his recommendations for tree work to the Trust and the Trust will usually issue a decision in line with his recommendations. This process normally takes approximately two weeks from the date of the site visit.

There is no individual charge for a visit from the Trust’s Consultant as the cost is incorporated within the Management Charge or Ground Rent for your property.

Tree Surgeons

The Trust holds a list of Tree Surgeons which have been recommended by Suburb residents and are known to carry out work which accord with good arboricultural practice. The list is included with the Trust’s letter of consent.

There are tree surgery companies that leaflet the Suburb and have been known to knock on doors offering their services immediately. These are not reputable companies which often do not obtain the proper consents and the quality of their work reflects this.

Trees in your neighbour’s garden

The Trust’s policy is to grant any consent for tree work to the owner of a tree. If you would like a tree in a neighbouring garden trimmed, please liaise with your neighbour and ask them to contact the Trust to book an appointment for the Trust’s Consultant. If your neighbour is happy for you to apply on their behalf, the Trust would need to receive written confirmation from them that this is the case.

If your neighbour does not wish to carry out work to their trees, it is not likely the Trust could make them carry out work.

Subsidence

If you receive a letter (often on behalf of an insurance company) asking you to carry out tree work due to subsidence at your property or a neighbours’ property, please telephone the Trust and book an appointment with the Trust’s Consultant.

If you are being asked to remove a tree (or trees), the Trust will usually require positive evidence that the tree (or trees) are linked to movement at the property. Typically, this evidence includes an engineer’s report, trial pit details, root analysis tests, details of level monitoring, CCTV of the drains, details of the exact damage sustained to the property and recommended method of repair. Please ask the company who contacted you to forward these details to the Trust.

Hedges

Hedges are a major contribution to the character of the Suburb. They provide green edges to the streetscape and soft boundaries to rear gardens. Originally, roads were planted with a consistent species of hedge to provide unity and a certain characteristic within the streetscape.  Hedges on the Suburb cannot be removed or replaced without the written consent of the Trust. If you wish to remove or replace a hedge, please follow the same procedure described above for trees and telephone the Trust office for an appointment with the Trust’s Consultant.

Responsibility for maintaining each side of a hedge should be outlined in the lease or freehold transfer of your property.

Hedge height

The original leases for Suburb properties generally recommend that front hedges be kept at a maximum of 3ft 6in and rear hedges 6ft (in each case the height should not be below 2ft).  Under the Scheme of Management for freehold properties, hedges are required to be properly maintained.  Whilst the Trust has a recommended maximum hedge height of 6ft, the Trust usually interprets compliance with the covenants in the Scheme of Management as a hedge being trimmed at the side and top irrespective of height.  As with trees, it is not likely that the Trust could make a neighbour carry out work to reduce a hedge.

In some circumstances, the Local Authority can be asked to take action over the height of evergreen hedges, after negotiation between neighbours has been exhausted.  Information on the circumstances and procedure is available from:

Over the Garden Hedge Leaflet (ODPM, 2007)

High hedges section, London Borough of Barnet

It is a criminal offence to undertake unauthorised works to trees on the Suburb (either pruning or felling).

 


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