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Subsidence caused by plane trees

Reported via desktop in the Damage - general (Trees) category anonymously at 14:13, Tuesday 9 April 2024

Sent to TfL less than a minute later. TfL ref: FMS5829561.

Dear Sir,

As an owner resident of a flat in Conway Court on Lordship Lane, SE22 8LB, I am writing to you about my concerns with the semi-mature plane trees planted in the road in front of 543/545 Conway Court.

These trees were planted some 10 to 15 years ago and have grown vigorously. Pollarding has been necessary several times and the canopies have grown to such an extent it was necessary to cut them back as they extended over the forecourt almost touching the building. I refer you to the case of 535 Lordship Lane which is next door but one to Conway Court block. A tree was planted in front of it and it had to be removed some years ago as cracking appeared in the front wall of that building and there were fears that this situation could affect the structural integrity of 535.

In late 2019 cracks were reported appearing in the front wall of the 543 Conway court and the internal walls in the ground floor flats of 543.

A structural engineer was appointed who carried out an inspection and produced a report in February 2020 and I have provided you with a copy of this report. I refer you to page 16 of the report where the structural engineer refers to the trees and their possible effect on the structural integrity of Conway Court. The report did not find subsidence and advised that the cracks would be repaired as part of general maintenance of the block.

I have also included a report from an arboriculturist from an inspection of the tree in the back garden dated July 2016. I refer you to page 3 which provides an opinion on the uncontrolled growth of a tree and the subsequent risk of subsidence.

This is to clarify the possible impact on the structural integrity of buildings of the close proximity of trees which are not managed appropriately. The trees have not been managed or pollarded for several years and have grown unchecked.

In 2020 the mains pipes besides the plane trees were leaking significantly and the trees were able to obtain more moisture than usual as a result and the trees grew extensively. This leak was repaired in November 2020 and this resulted in the loss of a significant source of moisture for the trees. As such the only source of moisture for the trees was from the surrounding soil and as the trees are in front of Conway Court that meant drawing moisture from the soil underlying this building.

In 2021 and 2022, the cracking in Conway Court in both 543 and 545 both internally and externally increased extensively and it was clear that subsidence was occurring. A claim had to be put with the insurers for subsidence. The claim in now subject to a complaint with the insurance ombudsman and we are awaiting a decision on the matter.

The damage to the building is extensive and the possible impact of the trees as a cause of this damage, in my opinion cannot be overlooked.

I am writing to request that you address my concerns as my flat is now seriously damaged and this is ongoing. Can you please inspect the trees and remove the, or better manage the growth by pollarding.

My contact details are provided above in this letter.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Mary Ryan Director Conway Court Residents Association Company Ltd.

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  • Your report has been investigated and we have reported this to our contractors for inspection. Any necessary action will be taken in the next 28 days if required. Thank you for taking the time to report this to us. Should you need anything else or have any questions please contact customer services on 0343 222 1234

    To note all Action Scheduled reports are auto closed after 28 days, the fault however will be fixed within the timescale stated above which may be sooner or in a few cases take a little longer.

    State changed to: Action scheduled

    Posted by TfL at 10:58, Wednesday 10 April 2024

  • The action scheduled for your report should now have been completed as detailed in your previous response. On some occasions it does take a little longer than scheduled. If you have any further queries on this, please either create a new report or contact our Customer Contact Centre on 0343 222 1234

    State changed to: Fixed

    Posted by TfL at 05:32, Thursday 9 May 2024

This report is now closed to updates from the public. You can make a new report in the same location.