Am I creating a problem in one fell swoop?

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty, explains the steps that need to be taken before cutting down trees in a conservation area
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© Merrily Harpur
Question: We live in a conservation area and have a large tree in our garden that is causing damage to our garden wall and the foundations of our house, as well as affecting the TV reception we get from our satellite.

There is no Tree Preservation Order in place but my neighbour says I still need to tell the council if I wish to fell the tree. Is this correct?

Answer: There are more than 8,000 conservation areas in England, which have been so designated for their special architectural and historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.

In London, English Heritage can designate conservation areas after consulting the local council and getting the consent of the Secretary of State for National Heritage.

Though these areas are usually designated because of the buildings within them, they can also be designated because of their features such as gardens, parks, trees or greens which form part of the character of the area.

As you are in a conservation area, before felling your tree you should notify the council of your intention six weeks in advance. This allows the council time to consider and assess the contribution the tree makes to the character of the conservation area and to decide whether a Tree Preservation Order needs to be made in respect of it.

Do not forget that, as you are in a conservation area, you may need consent for a satellite dish!

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP

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