Homeowners ready to take legal action over TfL tree removal (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Woodford Green residents hire law firm in fight to stop TfL removing trees from Central line embankment
HOMEOWNERS fighting plans to chop down dozens of mature trees from a railway embankment are ready to take their case to the courts.
The group of eight residents from Kings Avenue in Woodford Green are determined to halt Transport for London (TfL) plans to chop down the trees which screen their homes from the Central line.
TfL says the work, which is due to begin on January 5, is essential to stabilise the embankment, but residents say it will hit house prices, lead to an increase in noise and threaten wildlife.
And they have hired law firm Irwin Mitchell, who have written to TfL asking for a full explanation of why the work needs to be undertaken.
Kings Avenue resident Rab Hashem, 38, said: “It is costing us more than £1,000 in legal fees but we feel we have no choice.
“Our solicitors have written to TfL asking for a full explanation because we have not had one and there comes a point where you have to take a stand.
"If they ignore our letter and go ahead, the legal channel is now open and we would consult our lawyers about the next step."
The work was due to start earlier this month, but was delayed after residents enlisted the support of Iain Duncan Smith.
TfL met with residents and officers from Redbridge council and agreed to spare some of the trees.
Kings Avenue resident James Smith said: “If you look out our back window you can see that they have already cut down some of the smaller trees.
“They have been heavy handed and, I think, sneaky about this.
“We cannot just sit back and do nothing because we are facing a 10 – 20 per cent loss on the value of our homes here.”
A TfL spokeswoman denied any trees had been removed, but said TfL is committed to beginning work on January 5.
She added: “In the New Year, we will be felling trees to allow safe access to the site and safe movement of machinery needed to do the job.
“We have conducted a survey of the embankments with officers from the London Borough of Redbridge planning department.
“They identified trees of particular value and we will work with them to safeguard as many of these trees as possible.”
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