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Malvern backyard battle takes root – Melbourne Weekly

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http://www.melbourneweekly.com.au/news/local/news/general/malvern-backyard-battle-takes-root/2587375.aspx

Malvern backyard battle takes root

A MALVERN couple has lost a battle with Stonnington council over a 30-metre redwood tree.

The council rejected Sue and Hugh Ross’s request to remove the tree from a backyard in Sorrett Avenue despite an engineer’s report suggesting it will cause structural damage to their townhouse.

The couple bought their home in 2008 and applied in 2010 for permission to remove the tree. But that was rejected by the council, as was an appeal heard on June 4 this year.

Mrs Ross, 70, said it was ridiculous the council had prevented the removal of the tree, which is believed to have been there since the late 1800s.

‘‘We bought this house to retire in and we don’t want extra costs or damage,’’ she said.

She said the tree roots had raised the courtyard pavers so much they now prevented the back door from opening properly and two skylights had been broken by falling branches.

Mrs Ross said the council had failed to take into account an engineer’s report that indicated the tree would cause structural damage, if it hadn’t already.

She was unsure what their next step would be, but if the tree damaged their home they would consider taking it to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Stonnington mayor John Chandler and councillors Tim Smith and Claude Ullin supported the couple’s application to remove the tree, even though the municipality loses about 10 per cent of its urban foilage each year because of development.

But five Stonnington councillors voted to preserve the tree. Cr Tas Athanasopoulos argued that the couple bought the house with the tree, and significant trees were just as important as heritage homes.

He said council provided pruning services for those who couldn’t afford to pay for it.

Tom Greenwood, arborist and owner of Tree Works in Burwood, said he hadn’t seen the tree but suggested Mr and Mrs Ross could lift the paving, prune the roots and replace the paving.

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Written by vaphc

June 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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