UKTC Archive

TPO and a retaining wall.

Subject: TPO and a retaining wall.
From: "Eddie Butler"
Date: Oct 05 2018 17:40:12
Hello All,

I have a situation locally where a Tree in a Cons Area is being made award a
TPO. It is a self set Sycamore, twin stem with a tight union and a canopy
made of a lapsed pollard which is now unmanaged. 

The tree is in the rear garden of a house in a long terrace street, and
backs onto the garden of another house in a parallel terrace street. The
tree cannot be seen from any public vantage point- only from the rear
gardens of the terrace houses. The canopy of the tree can be seen from a
small pub carpark which is also behind the terrace houses, but this is not
technically a public space as it is for patrons only. I.e. a member of the
public accessing this area can be instructed to leave if they are not
accessing the Public house itself. Although the tree is not big, the canopy
overhangs several narrow gardens, so there are several 'interested parties'.


A TEMPO assessment was made by the LA from the vantage point of the pub
carpark. From this position the base of the tree and a boundary retaining
wall directly adjacent is not visible.


The tree is causing direct damage by incremental growth to the single skin
brick built boundary wall separating the two gardens. The damage is advanced
with a significant deflection and the wall is detaching from its foundation.
There is a significant separation in the wall. It is beyond repair and would
need rebuilding. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the wall is
also a retaining wall. The difference in height between ground levels of the
two gardens is approx. 1 Metre. The tree is on the elevated side of the
wall. It is clear that the wall could not be rebuilt without removing the
tree. The wall could not be installed on the original boundary line without
cutting comprehensively into the root system of the tree directly adjacent
to the main bole. This could destabilise the tree or at the very least
instigate its demise. The owner of the wall (one or other of the two houses)
has not yet been established.


The TPO is proceeding on the strength of the TEMPO assessment made without
seeing the base of the tree or the damage to the retaining wall.  I have
forwarded several photos of the situation as an informative but the TO has
not been to site to view first hand the damage from the lower garden. The
home owner is agreeable and was happy to allow me in to take the photos.


Depending on the ownership of the wall the situation is either causing an
actionable nuisance (damage to the wall by a neighbours tree) or a technical
trespass (a neighbours wall / tree extending over the boundary). The danger
of the wall collapsing limits the use and enjoyment of the end of the garden
on the lowest level.


I requested a copy of the TEMPO assessment. The TEMPO score for Part 1b) was
recorded as 2. (20-40 years; suitable). As stated, this was made without
having seen the base of the tree or the retaining wall.

I would have thought in the light of the full circumstances being revealed
the score should be 0 since there is an existing nuisance. In which case the
procedure should be to not proceed with the TPO.


Does the collective think it is expedient to make a TPO at all in such
circumstances? Clearly it can be forecast that the tree will come under
pressure in the foreseeable future to facilitate the repairs to the wall.


Does the collective think it 'safe' to make a TPO on the basis of a TEMPO
assessment which has clearly not been made with knowledge of the full
situation i.e. the existence of the retaining wall and the damage caused to
it by the tree?


Would the LA have access to information to establish who owns the boundary
and thus the wall itself?


Your thoughts and wisdom always received with great anticipation.

Thanks in advance.






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