RA Trees and Open Spaces - News

November 2014
Central Square

Barnet have indicated that, due to limited resources/finance, they may not be able to continue annual planting in Central Square. Trees and Open Spaces are supporting a plan led by Central Square resident Richard Townley for a new design for the beds drawn up by a professional landscape gardener which would reduce the amount of annual maintenance necessary. Discussions are ongoing with Barnet and an update will be provided as soon as an interim agreement has been arrived at.

November 2014
Meadway Gate

Talks are being held with Barnet for a plan to improve the state of meadway gate which has become overgrown in the last 2/3 years and work is needed on the two rose beds to restore them to their original condition. Although Barnet are responsible, it is likely that the RA will need to help to ensure that the area will be kept in an ongoing good condition. If anyone is interested in joining a small volunteering group for occasional work, please contact the Trees and Open Spaces Committee.

March 2014
Street Trees November 2014 update

A number of street trees have recently been cut down by Barnet without reference to the Trees and Open Spaces Committee. In the past there was close liaison to ensure residents were aware what was happening and were given an opportunity to talk to the Committee so that representations could be made to Barnet in some instances not to fell a street tree or to ensure a replacement tree was planted as soon as possible.

Due to changes in personnel, this liaison has lapsed but is now being urgently reinstated to ensure as few street trees as possible are cut down and where necessary replaced the following year following the original planting scheme.

Agreement has now been made with Barnet that tree officers will always liaise beforehand, if they propose to cut down a street tree so that members of the Committee can consult with local residents and discuss with Barnet if we all feel the tree should remain. A number of trees have been cut down in the last year which could have survived for many years despite showing signs of some fungal growth.

There has also been a review of all the vacant street tree pits in the Suburb and they total 175! So in order to improve the situation the RA is contributing some money so that Barnet increase their annual planting from 20 to 60 trees this winter/spring. Trees will be planted according to the original tree planting scheme laid out for the Suburb which specified species for each road and in some cases a number of species for each road.

March 2014
Northway gardens rose beds, November 2014 update

Northway gardens is a three acre park running beside Mutton Brook which was laid out in 1911 when the Suburb was extended. The formal gardens include a rose garden surrounded by clipped yew hedges.. In the last few years this area has become increasingly neglected -the central pergola decayed and was demolished and many of the rose beds are now empty

The RA wanted to restore the rose gardens, rebuild the pergola and so ensure the future of this amenity. A working group set up by the Trees & Open Spaces Committee had been looking at what practical steps would be needed and the likely cost, and had got together a group of volunteers to help with further maintenance. A proposal was put forward to Barnet which included a plan for the beds prepared by a professional landscape gardener. The plan was rejected by Barnet, in favour of a bid put forward by the Northway Gardens Association led by Brian Ingram. They are now applying to the RA for funding. If anyone wants more information on this independent proposal, they can be contacted at rosegardensnw11@gmail.com

March 2014
Application to fell Oak 12 Asmuns Hill- March 2014

The Committee and other residents wrote to Barnet opposing the application to fell this magnificent oak in the garden of no 12 Asmuns Hill facing on to the Orchard's garden. This tree is marked on the old Suburb maps drawn by Parker and Unwin and was deliberately retained by them as a feature when this part of the Suburb was developed. It is clearly visible from the street and enhances the area. Despite this, the insurer has requested that it be cut down although they failed to provide conclusive evidence that the tree was a major cause of the subsidence at the house.

After reviewing the evidence and taking into account the many letters of protests from Residents, Barnet have refused the application and made the tree subject to a TPO (Tree Preservation Order). Thank you to all those residents who wrote letters supporting our objections


January 2013
Asmuns magnificent oak - saved 9 April 2013

April update: On 9 April, Barnet Council heard the new application to fell. It was rejected by the planning committee by a margin of eight to one. Four councillors on the committee spoke against the application. 125 objections had been received, and 20 residents attended the hearing. It really does seem to make a difference when the councillors can witness for themselves the strength of feeling against these applications.

Original posting: The magnificent oak tree visible from Asmuns Hill (between nos 7 & 9) is again at risk from an application to fell. Please email or post an objection to arrive before the 4th February deadline. See the November information below for the rejection of the previous application. It seems that the applicant has provided further information, and is therefore allowed another ‘go’. However the beauty of the tree, existing long before the houses, remains unchanged, and is a valid factor in resisting the application. 

  • Residents who value the tree should email :  ann.currell@barnet.gov.uk , quoting the application number:  TPO/00007/13/F, and  stating their name and address (essential for their email to count). 

November 2012
Asmuns Oak saved !

Barnet's planning committee, on 12th November, rejected the application to fell the magnificent oak tree visible from Asmuns Hill between houses, and marking an ancient field boundary on the edge of the Asmuns Place allotments.

Insurers of a nearby house had applied to fell, as a fairly modern (1990s) rear extension was cracking. However, evidence showed that the foundations had not complied with building regulations, and anyway that removal of the oak was likely to cause greater damage from "heave".

The amenity value of the oak was greatly praised by planning officers. Support for its retention had been lodged by both the RA and the Trust, as well as numerous local residents. All were well represented in the audience at the Hearing, and Jane Blackburn, for the Trust, spoke in detailed support of the tree.

Pre-hearing news item was:

Application to fell the oak on land behind Asmuns Hill is being heard at the West Area Planning Sub-committee meeting on Monday 12th at 7pm at Hendon Town Hall, the Burroughs NW4.

RA's Teees & Open Spaces committee has lodged an objection. The oak is magnificent.

It is important that Barnet take note of how much interest there is from the local community - so please come along, if you are able. 

There are 69 formal objections on the Barnet website but support at the actual meeting is always noted as significant.


March 2012
Willifield Oak Tree saved !

At the hearing on March 5th, Barnet Council refused permission to fell the Oak Tree on Lucas Crescent (the green on Willifield Way). Several supporters from the Suburb attended.
Jane Blackman (HGS Trust) and a resident from Lucas Crescent spoke convincingly, and there was strong support from Cllr John Marshall.

2nd March entry:

Monday 5 March 7pm - be at Town Hall to save Oak !


The RA Trees and Open Spaces Committee was only informed on 2nd March that a hearing to consider the request for permission to fell the beautiful and venerable oak tree outside 39 Willifield Way (see our December entry below) will take place on Monday, 5 March at 7 p.m. in Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, NW4.  Although the notice given of the hearing is astonishingly short, LBB has refused to defer the item to a later hearing. 

In spite of the short notice, a member of the Trees and Open Spaces Committee will be attending to speak against the felling.  As always, a show of public support for the protection of trees in the Suburb could help to influence the decision.  If you care about trees, please attend the hearing if you possibly can.  The short notice means that many who have always tried to attend such hearings are unable to be there, so the need for new supporters is more urgent than ever.

December 2011
Save next oak - 15 Dec deadline

Please help save an oak tree by 39 Willifield Way. Insurers have applied to fell - without proof of damage or consideration of other solutions. This is one of a group of fine, characterful mature trees that contribute immensely to the street scene.

The charming crescent below pavement level is enormously enhanced by these trees - see photo on this website home page. From a 1911 plan, it seems quite clear that the houses were set back to preserve these great trees. Please look at the trees, particularly the central pair as the application is to fell one of those (it's the one to the right of the central path, as seen from the street).

RA Trees and Open Spaces Committee

October 2011
Oak Tree saved !

Following the Public Enquiry on 27 September the Planning Inspector has upheld Barnet's refusal to allow the felling of a large oak tree on the EDF site, opposite Central Square, on the corner of Northway adjacent to the Tea House.  

The campaign to save the tree involved the Residents Association and in particular its Trees and Open Spaces Committee, the HGS Trust and many individuals.  Strong support was given all along by Councillor John Marshall.  At the Public Enquiry, those opposed to the felling were well represented and the Inspector was able to gauge the strength of public feeling on this matter - he then made a site visit.

At the core of the Inspector's decision was his view the tree is an important and irreplaceable element in the landscape, and that there are other ways of dealing with the real or supposed damage caused by large trees.   It is to be hoped that the implications of this judgment will be considered in relation to other possible applications made to fell our trees, which is so often the destructive way in which insurance companies try to deal with the problem of subsidence here, and anyway often causes other problems such as 'heave'.

July 2011
Oak Tree - 27 Sept Hearing

Following a July adjournment, 27 September was notified for the new Hearing, and this took place. The insurers' appealed against Barnet's refusal to allow the felling. Barnet, the Trust and its advisers opposed the appeal, and a number of Suburb residents attended in support of that opposition. The hearing was followed by a site inspection. The outcome is expected in Octobe

Save the oak tree by Central Square



March 2011
Oak tree saved near Central Sq

Barnet planning committee on 16 February rejected the application to permit the felling of an Oak (with a tree preservation order on it) on the Central Square EDF (electricity sub-station) site next to the Tea House. The RA Trees & Open Spaces Committee has worked hard to achieve this result.

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