Former deputy mayor and a retired GP in dispute over the future of two Wanstead trees

A former Redbridge deputy mayor and a retired GP are locked in a dispute over the future of two Wanstead trees.

Thomas Howl, 69, of Mansfield Road, Wanstead, the borough’s deputy mayor from 1995 to 1996, successfully had a preservation order protecting two sycamores in The Green, Wanstead, lifted last Thursday.

The former councillor says the trees, which are over 100 years old and about 15 metres tall, block sunlight to his garden and he wants to reduce their height.

They sit in the gardens of two neighbouring homes and within the Wanstead Village conservation area.

Dr Thomas Mayer, of The Green, who owns one of the trees, spoke in favour of the preservation order at Redbridge Council’s Regulatory Committee and has since said he will resist any attempts to alter it.

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The former doctor, who practised in Clayhall for 32 years, said: “To do anything at all, he [Mr Howl] will have to take out a court order.”

Dr Mayer told the meeting the trees’ “aesthetic value can be appreciated by all those with views of them” and said they provide a habitat for a number of garden birds.

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He also said any overhanging branches into Mr Howl’s garden had been cut back to the boundary line, which Mr Howl disputes.

The order was put in place by the council last November.

Christian Sheldon, the borough’s trees and landscaping officer, said at the meeting: “I wouldn’t like to see the height [of the trees] reduced because it would reduce the amenity of the trees.”

Following the meeting, Mr Howl said: “We can’t touch Dr Mayer’s tree because he won’t let us. “I’d love to take some of the top off it but it is not going to happen.”

He is now seeking permission from the owner of the second tree to cut back its branches and reduce its height.

The committee voted six to four to lift the order.

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