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Carlyesque

TPO Horse Chestnut within 5-6m of house

Question

Hello! I'm very grateful for this forum as I'm brand new to house-buying and have read through a number of posts about this subject, which has made things a little clearer for me.

Firstly, I adore trees. The last thing I'd ever want to do is get rid of one. No 'buts' to follow that statement, just some context! 🙂 

I saw a house and it was love at first sight, ticks all my important boxes. I searched for planning applications relating to the property and found the below, which mentions the huge Horse Chestnut tree in the front garden, just 5-6m from the house. From what I've gathered from reading this forum already, that really is very close for such a magnificently grand tree! The owner claims that the tree is responsible for structural damage to the house and neighbouring properties; while no expert evidence was submitted to support this, it's certainly enough to give me pause. I wouldn't want to buy such a big problem if that is the case, but I certainly wouldn't want to cause a nuisance for any neighbours! I'm not sure what the soil type is. I've read here that clay would be a potential cause for concern due to dehydration in hot weather. The application also mentions an underground stream that has apparently been breached - while I'm not sure of the exact location of this, I suppose that would have some influence on the tree roots. The report also mentions that the trees were probably planted at the same time as the houses were built, which appears to be quite some time ago.

I know people have a propensity to blame trees for issues that aren't always their fault, so I'm keeping that in mind. However, I think the enormity of the tree and the close proximity - plus the surprising affordability of the house - probably mean that it is a big problem. I think I've come here for somebody to give me hope that it isn't as bad as it seems. Either that, or to put me out of my misery! 😉

Report:

WWW.KIRKLEES.GOV.UK

Delivering information for individuals, businesses and organisations about this area in the Yorkshire Pennines area of England



All advice/warnings to go running into the night greatly appreciated!

Edit: here's a street view image of the fine fellow in question, for better context! The house I'm looking at is the one with the brown door.
 

WWW.GOOGLE.COM

Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.

 

Edited by Carlyesque

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Hi there, IMHO / IME the problem will come when/if you buy the property and the insurers get involved, they'll probably want an 'arboricultural report', which will doubtless conclude that the tree is within influencing distance etc. etc., and probably recommend a structural engineer be engaged to investigate the cause of damage...often resulting in a recommendation for tree removal essentially as a process of elimination (of causation.) The underground stream issue you mentioned, I haven't looked at the planing application, is a cause for concern / possible causation and that should be fully investigated first before you have to consider removal of the tree, and incurring the associated cost of course, which may not be actual the cause. 

Not that it always happens consistently but there appears to be other similar sized trees to he front of adjacent properties...have they had any similar issues previously, or currently...may be worth asking. 

Bottom line = structural engineer FULL investigation (which may also be a condition of any mortgage offer if applicable.) 

 

Just my (personal) thoughts out loud.

 

Good luck, tis a lovely house n lovely setting..."Emmerdale"? :)

Paul  

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Thanks so much for your reply! Yeah, I guess it's too big an issue to figure out without a proper investigation. I haven't even had a first viewing yet, so I guess I'll figure out how much these things cost before really deciding if it's worth going for.  The report said that a similar tree from a few doors down was removed and replaced. Personally, I can't help feeling that the tree has more of a right to be there than the house! 😁

The reply from the council in the report did mention that their investigation produced no evidence of a threat to the surrounding properties, but I'm guessing it wasn't a thorough investigation conducted by a proper expert.

Heh, I think it's closer to 'Last of the Summer Wine', literally! I may well run into this problem again if I keep looking because the only houses I really like are ones surrounded in a lot of nature rather than a concrete hellscape! 😂

Thanks again!

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I don't really see the problem. Everything points to previous owner chancing their arm. No evidence to support any of the reasons for removal. Had there been, it would have been a fool not to submit it, or a fool not to follow up on it.

 

 

A basic check about whether there any shrinkable clays in the area would be informative. Looks like carboniferous siltstone/mudstone/sandstone. Not known for shrinkage.

 

I took a Google walk up the street and then looked at the aerial photo, there are zillions of big trees. Chances of yours being a problem that no-one else is experiencing? Super-low.

 

Worth a first viewing if you like it, but don't go too far without getting a mortgage survey using a local firm.

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On 31/03/2021 at 14:15, AA Teccie (Paul) said:

Hi there, IMHO / IME the problem will come when/if you buy the property and the insurers get involved, they'll probably want an 'arboricultural report', which will doubtless conclude that the tree is within influencing distance etc. etc., and probably recommend a structural engineer be engaged to investigate the cause of damage...often resulting in a recommendation for tree removal essentially as a process of elimination (of causation.) The underground stream issue you mentioned, I haven't looked at the planing application, is a cause for concern / possible causation and that should be fully investigated first before you have to consider removal of the tree, and incurring the associated cost of course, which may not be actual the cause. 

Not that it always happens consistently but there appears to be other similar sized trees to he front of adjacent properties...have they had any similar issues previously, or currently...may be worth asking. 

Bottom line = structural engineer FULL investigation (which may also be a condition of any mortgage offer if applicable.) 

 

Just my (personal) thoughts out loud.

 

Good luck, tis a lovely house n lovely setting..."Emmerdale"? :)

Paul  

When I insured my house they just asked if they're were any trees over a certain height within a certain distance of my house. I answered yes and got my quote. That was it. It may have affected the premium but house insurance is cheap enough. 

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On 31/03/2021 at 12:46, Carlyesque said:

The owner claims that the tree is responsible for structural damage to the house and neighbouring properties; 

The owners statement in support of the previous TPO application is legendary!

 

“Trunk splits in 2 at 3 meters”

 

and of course, the ‘clear and present danger’ presented by the tree to this, and neighbouring, properties. 
 

If ever you needed a mallet to beat them up over the price with - they’ve given you a gold plated one!  
 

By their own hand, they’ve potentially written a £2-20k bargaining chip into the asking price. 

 

 

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The application and refusal notice was a funny read. The applicant has obviously watched a couple of legal dramas but was to cheap to pay a professional for the report.

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2 hours ago, Joe Newton said:

The application and refusal notice was a funny read. The applicant has obviously watched a couple of legal dramas but was to cheap to pay a professional for the report.

I’m not so sure the LA ‘covered themselves in glory’ in the DN either!

 

The application form states ‘splits in 2 at 3m’ or something like that....

 

The conditional approval says “...Clean out crown removing any dead, dangerous, hazardous or split branches and stubs; while maintaining the tree’s structural integrity and natural form...”

 

Dead is exempt, dangerous/ hazardous might have been and as for ‘split’ well that would have made for an interesting discussion if the applicant had reduced the tree to 3m on the basis that the application form stated it ‘split in 2 at 3m,’

 

Structural integrity and (remaining) natural form would have been undeniably achieved 😂

 

 

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54 minutes ago, kevinjohnsonmbe said:

I’m not so sure the LA ‘covered themselves in glory’ in the DN either!

 

 

I'm not answering the question, but I can say that Kirklees showed beyond reasonable doubt that they need to pull their socks up! Their note 2 of the Decision Notice was out of order in 2012, let alone in 2021......simply outrageous to be so out of date and mislead applicants in that way.

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10 minutes ago, Jon Heuch said:

I'm not answering the question, but I can say that Kirklees showed beyond reasonable doubt that they need to pull their socks up! Their note 2 of the Decision Notice was out of order in 2012, let alone in 2021......simply outrageous to be so out of date and mislead applicants in that way.

And in a further derail - apologies - I nearly always get acknowledgement letters from our LPA for receipt of a notification of works in a CA stating the 6 weeks begins from the date of said letter.  The notification was invariably sent in via the planning portal online and confirmed as received as such several weeks earlier.  Makes no odds to me as I know I can start work (all other things considered) after the 6 weeks as I know the original notification was explicitly to the required standard.  But I then have to spend time placating a client because they are reluctant to believe the LPA are incorrect - and the LPA won't respond and can only be reached through a central email.

 

I do politely email the LPA to suggest they might re-word what they send out but to this day have not had a reply...

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The “no burning on site” condition struck me as ‘odd’ too. It may or may not be an option but I can’t see how it can be a condition. 
 

I’d have thought that would be EA business unless there is some other byelaw - but even if there was, not really appropriate as a condition. 

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