Fight to save St Albans oak tree placed on ‘death row’

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to save a large oak tree put on “death row” by an insurance company.

It is claimed that the roots of the tree, which stands between gardens in St Johns Court and Woodstock Road North in St Albans, are causing damage to a property 20 metres away in Gleave Close and a notice was recently placed on it warning that it will be felled within 28 days unless the “roots can be restrained”.

But in light of the uproar among surrounding residents, the engineering and surveying firm employed by the insurance company of the affected house has since said the situation will be monitored until September in the hope that some recent trimming of the tree will improve things.

Zoran Stojkov, who started the campaign with a website and Facebook group, said: “The oak is a focal point for quite a few gardens, it provides a great shade during summer in otherwise unbearably hot houses, it gives friendly enclosure and protection to a variety of wildlife, it looks beautiful and gives everyone some feeling of not living in a city.

“Apparently the oak is causing damage in the foundations of a nearby building, which is approximately 20 metres away.

“An insurance company have commissioned an engineering and surveying company to cut the tree. With all sympathy and understanding for the owner of the damaged house, we believe that cutting down the tree is just an easy option for the insurance company.”

Mr Stojkov, who lives in St Johns Court, explained that the tree doesn’t have an obvious owner as it is exactly on the boundary between the gardens of two of his neighbours. And he has been told by the district council that if the tree is causing damage then there is nothing they can do.

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Like many residents with gardens surrounding the tree, Mr Stojkov also feels the damage to the house in question could have been caused by other factors as the tree is so far away and he believes the possibility of restraining the roots should be given more weight.

He added: “The old giant certainly predates the damaged building and it deserves some help now. It would be a big loss if it was cut down.”