16 Crab Hill Update 9 August 2017
It can be noted that the further application, reference No. 17/00407/TPO, to fell three pine trees subject to PO 1898 was refused on 27 March 2017. The Council of the London Borough of Bromley refused to consent to the proposal referred to in the application received on 30 January 2017 for the following reasons:

Section 8 of the application form requires level monitoring data to be provided in support of subsidence related claims. The absence of this period of monitoring, which should be a minimum of one year, makes the justification put forward as part of this application insufficient. There is no evidence to link the pine trees to the property damage. The application subsequently conflicts with policy NE7 of the Bromley Unitary Development Plan (adopted July 2006).

Update 23 July 2017 - RVPS Tree Friends Training
The Ravensbourne Valley Preservation Society (RVPS) Tree Friends database is as follows:

Tree Friend coordinator – Monica Wiltshire – 10 Crab Hill, Beckenham BR3 5HE


Name and contact details

Bromley Avenue / Grasmere Road

Martin Ruddick, 36 Bracken Hill Lane, Bromley BR1 4AJ

Bracken Hill Lane and Close / Highland Road

Linda Muller, 48 Bracken Hill Lane, Bromley BR1 4AJ

Coniston Road / Ullswater Close / Hawkshead Close

Judy Adcock, 78 Madeira Avenue, Bromley BR1 4AS

Downs Hill / Crab Hill

Eddie and Euan McMaster, 35 Downs Hill, Beckenham BR3 5ET

Luis Pousada, Larchmont, Crab Hill, Beckenham BR3 5HH

Cathy Davies, 4A Crab Hill, Beckenham BR3 5HE

Elstree Hill / Erin Close / Hillbrow

Farnaby Road

Pat White, 103 Farnaby Road, Bromley BR1 4BN

Maureen Johnson, 69 Farnaby Road, Bromley BR1 4BN

Barbara Munday, 77 Calmont Road, Bromley BR1 4BY

Madeira Avenue

Judy Adcock, 78 Madeira Avenue, Bromley BR1 4AS

Karen Summers, 98 Madeira Avenue, Bromley BR1 4AS

Brian Atkinson, 94 Madeira Avenue, Bromley BR1 4AS

Oaklands Road / Spencer Road

Mick Pinson, 15 Elstree Hill, Bromley BR1 4JE

Ravensbourne Avenue

Olivia Livesey, 152 Ravensbourne Avenue, Bromley BR2 0AY

Anna Koffer, 160 Ravensbourne Avenue, Bromley BR2 0AY

Sandra Callaghan, 14 Ravensbourne Avenue, Bromley BR2 0BP

Warren Avenue

John Ealey, 24 Warren Avenue, Bromley BR1 4BS

Barbara Munday, 77 Calmont Road, Bromley BR1 4BY

16 Crab Hill Update -13 February 2017
There has been a further application, reference No. 17/00407/TPO, to fell three pine trees subject to PO 1898 in the front garden of 16 Crab Hill, Beckenham BR3 5HE. The application was received on Monday 30 January 2017.

In support, the applicants say:

According to our insurance company, trees T6 and TG3 are responsible for subsidence to the property, and need to be removed.

Further damage has been caused by TG4 to the main drain – the roots have caused the drains intercepter [sic] to smash, and the drains have been blocked by tree roots – 3 times in the last 9 months with raw sewage in garage)

An application to reduce the canopy of T6 and TG3 was declined

Excessive shading
We would re-plant with trees that would not not [sic] have the potential to cause damage because of roots (subsidence report, and drains report attached, and arboricultural report attached)

The neighbour consultation expiry date is Friday 24 February 2017. RVPS is considering this application, but residents may wish to make their own comment.

Tulip tree at 66 Madeira Avenue, Bromley 7 January 2017
The Delegation Report and Decision dated 7 February 2017 are now available on the application reference number 16/05602 to fell the tulip tree at 66 Madeira Avenue, Bromley BR1 4AS.

Nearby owners/occupiers were notified of the application and seven representations of objection were received which have been summarised as follows:
  • The reasons for felling the tree are weak.
  • The tree is not diseased or dangerous.
  • The tree is not damaging the dwelling.
  • The damaged wall can be replaced.
  • The tree predates the current owner’s occupancy.
  • No reports have been provided in support of the application.
  • The yew hedge is more of a concern in [sic] with regard to the impact upon pedestrians.
  • It would be detrimental to the environment to lose this tree.
  • The claim that the tree is causing damage to drainage is not supported with evidence.
  • It would be an act of environmental vandalism for the Council to permit the felling of the tree.
  • The tree is a prominent feature of high amenity value.
One of our members wrote in, saying:

I wish to object to this application to fell a tree.

Note that I think the tree is a Liriodendron also called a Tulip Tree related to magnolias not poplars.

The case for felling such a beautiful specimen seem weak.

The tree is not diseased or dangerous.

The application does not say that the tree is damaging the house.

I can see that the front wall is damaged but that could be replaced with an alternative. Also taking down the yew hedge would help.

The tree predates the current owners - according to zoopla the house was last sold in 2000.

The conclusion of the planning officer is as follows:

The tree is noted as a good example [of the species]. The damage to the surrounding ground is most likely linked to the tree’s root activity. The public footpath appears to have been resurfaced by the Council in the past to address potential trip hazards as cracks emerge.

The negative impact on the property and the public footpath are considered secondary to the importance of the tree. Possible solutions at ground level could include changing the boundary wall to a fence, installing a lintel to bridge the root flares or adding to the hedging already in situ. The surface damage to the drive can be repaired as and when damage becomes apparent. Should the uneven surface persist, a gravel based surface may be a more suitable solution.

The felling of the tree would be detrimental to the character of the area and would subsequently negate the objectives of the TPO.

It is recommended that the application be refused.

The application has been refused “for following the reasons [sic]”:

The felling of the tulip tree would be detrimental to the local amenities and the character of the area. The retention of the tree is considered a priority over the nuisance of surface damage at ground level. Further information would be required to support a claim that the tree is impacting the superstructure of the dwelling. The proposal is contrary to policy NE7 of the Bromley Unitary Development Plan (adopted July 2006).

RVPS Tree Friends Bramble and Ivy New Year Party
 - 10 January 2017
Twelve RVPS tree friends met on Sunday 8 January 2017 to carry out two group projects. The first was to cut back the bramble and ivy on Beckenham Place Park fence which was encroaching on to Crab Hill pavement, and the second to tidy up the triangle of common ground at the junction of Ravensbourne Avenue, Bromley, and Downs Hill, Beckenham, a less easy task as a lot was beyond the scope of secateurs. There were many “thank you” comments from passers-by. Several asked how they could become involved and one offered his garden waste bin to put the cuttings in.

Bramble and Ivy Before
Beckenham Place Park fence – before
Bramble and Ivy After
Beckenham Place Park fence – after
With a real sense of achievement and community spirit the tree friends gathered at the end of an hour and a half's work to chat over the last mulled wine and mince pies of the season; proudly leaving 27 purple sacks to be collected by Bromley Council.

There is an emerging sense of residents’ ownership and responsibility for our local environment with the reduced funding in councils now. If you would like to be involved in future group tree friend projects, contact Monica Wiltshire, RVPS Tree Friend Co-ordinator at trees.rvps@outlook.com.

Poplar at 66 Madeira Avenue, Bromley 7 January 2017

An application reference number 16/05602 has been made to fell the very prominent poplar tree at 66 Madeira Avenue, 
Bromley BR1 4AS, right on the corner of Madeira Avenue and Bromley Avenue. We are told this is due to is roots causing significant damage to the driveway, pavement, drainage and structure. The proposal is to replant one Norway maple on the opposite boundary.

Anyone wanting to comment about this application should write to Christopher.Ryder@bromley.gov.uk as soon as possible.

Update 1 August 2016 - RVPS Community Tree Projects

At the RVPS Garden Party on Saturday 30 July 2016, Monica Wiltshire, Tree Officer and Clive Lees, Chairman, handed a cheque for £3,000 to Councillors Nicky Dykes, Will Harmer, Michael Rutherford and Michael Tickner (left to right), London Borough of Bromley as the RVPS 50% contribution for a Community Tree Project. This was the first of two projects RVPS have run with Julian Fowgies, Arboricultural Manager for the London Borough of Bromley. It included planting 16 oak trees in Farnaby Road, 7 birch trees in Downs Hill and 2 hazel trees in Warren Avenue.

Farnaby Road from outside No 41

50 ,48, 46, 44 Farnaby Rd (left to right)
The oak trees in Farnaby Road are of particular significance as they replaced the lost trees in what was once a tree lined road. The photograph below shows young oaks planted in Farnaby Road at the beginning of the 20th century.

Three major benefits of the RVPS Community Tree Projects have been -
  • a tangible and lasting legacy for ourselves and future generations;
  • a strong working partnership with the London Borough of Bromley; and
  • the fostering of community relations and appreciation from local residents.
Update 4 May 2016 - RVPS Tree Friends Training
On Friday 8 April 2016, twelve members of Ravensbourne Valley Preservation Society (RVPS) attended a training session led by Mark Byfield, Arboricultural Officer, London Borough of Bromley, and formed the beginning of the RVPS Tree Friends group.

The training covered basal pruning, loosening young tree ties, watering young trees in dry conditions, maintenance of tree pits and general ways to care for street trees. RVPS Tree Officer, Monica Wiltshire will maintain a database of volunteers and the streets they look after and act as the liaison person between Bromley Council and the Tree Friends group.

An example of a tree in need of basal pruning
RVPS members were given a new pair of secateurs and purple sacks for waste collection and were eager to get started. Tree Friend Eddie McMaster said, "This will spur us into action!"

Interest within RVPS to improve the street scene is such that Mark Byfield will be returning to carry out a second training in May for an additional ten members. The impact of the RVPS Tree Friends group, alongside the RVPS litter picking groups, the first of which was recently established in Downs Hill / Crab Hill, will enhance the environment for all of us.

The team with instructor Mark Byfield
Those attending the training and shown in the group photograph were Mark Byfield (Arboricultural Officer); Monica Wiltshire (RVPS Tree Officer); Judy Adcock; Eddie McMaster; Luis Pousada; Mick Pinson; Carol Davidson; Olivia Livesey; Linda Muller; Karen Summers; Wendy Watmore; Pat White; Euan McMaster (not shown).

More information on starting a Tree Friends group is available from this link. 

The damage done by a tree tie left in place for too long

If you see one like this please report it to Bromley Council

Update 24 January 2016 - 16 Crab Hill
RVPS is pleased to note that the planning applications to remove three pine trees at 16 Crab Hill, Beckenham and one at 14 Crab Hill in an insurance-led demand to fell the trees because of subsidence have been refused by Bromley Council. Objections from RVPS and nearby owners/occupiers can be summarised as follows:
  • The trees in question are of particular importance to the character of the area. 
  • Trees are of high amenity value. 
  • The loss of the trees would impact local residents and stakeholders. 
  • The appended report offers no evidence that the removal of the trees would reduce the risk of subsidence. 
  • Material facts in relation to subsidence have not been taken into consideration.
  • No assessment of heave has been made.
  • No suggestion of alternative remediation. 
  • Lack of engineering report.
  • Devastating impact of the recommended required works.
RVPS have been asked by Councillor Mellor to prepare a draft policy on insurance-led demands to fell trees in subsidence cases for submission and hopefully approval to the Council.

Update 29 November 2015 - 16 Crab Hill
RVPS has objected to an insurance-led demand to fell trees at 16 Crab Hill, Beckenham BR3 5HE implicated in a subsidence claim. The claim has two planning applications 15/03976/TREE and 15/04550/TPO.

The first involved felling a lime tree in the neighbouring property and a cypress tree and laurel on the insured property. No objections were raised, as this vegetation is very close to the damaged area at the rear of the property.

The second planning application involves removal of two cypress trees and four pine trees to the front of the property (one at No. 14 Crab Hill). This would have a detrimental impact on the street scene and appears to be unnecessary because no consideration has been given to other material facts and alternative measures by the insurance company’s agents.

Update 28 October 2015 - Tree Friends
The London Borough of Bromley have produced a document called 'Tree Friend Toolkit’ (see link) which explains everything about being a 'Tree Friend'.

A Basal Pruning Session
Would you like to learn about basal pruning and become a RVPS tree friend? Julian Fowgies, Principal Arboricultural Officer, will give a small group instruction on how to carry out basal pruning on street trees in spring 2016. This kind of tree care from residents’ association members is increasingly important with reduced local authority budgets. The council will supply secateurs and purple sacks for waste collection. As well as improving the street scene it promises to be a social occasion and will be the start of the RVPS Tree Friends. 

If you would like to join this group or want further information on any tree related matters please contact Monica Wiltshire, RVPS Tree Officer at trees.rvps@outlook.com.

Update 28 October 2015 - RVPS Community Tree Projects
Watering new trees – impending notice
The one year maintenance contract for newly planted trees in Farnaby Road, Warren Avenue and Downs Hill will finish at the end of March 2016 so it will be important that residents adjacent to these trees take over responsibility for watering. Ideally new trees should be watered around once a week for the first three years. The watering bags hold 100 litres of water and should be topped up so they are reasonably full. PLEASE WATER ME signs will be attached to the green water bags at the end of the maintenance period by the contractors to signal the changeover of this task to residents. 

Other news from the Community Tree Projects
  • Low hanging branches from a few of the new trees in Farnaby Road will be removed to prevent them being damaged.
  • All five dead trees from the Ravensbourne Avenue end of Downs Hill have been removed. They were not part of the RVPS project but noted on our end of season assessment in September.
  • The dead trees outside no. 77 and no. 36 Downs Hill are to be removed and replaced as part of the contract arrangement with Gristwood and Toms.
A second Community Tree Project
We are currently planning our second Community Tree Project, and it is intended to work with the London Borough of Bromley again drawing on the experience we gained during the first project in Farnaby Road, Downs Hill and Warren Avenue. RVPS will sponsor the purchasing of trees for Bromley to plant and maintain within the first year. The overall aim again is to replace trees lost by disease, storm or damage and provide additional trees to enhance the RVPS area generally. It is intended to plant about fifteen new trees in Warren Avenue, Ravensmead Road and Ravensbourne Avenue. As a first step a survey of existing trees in these roads is carried out to identify possible sites for new trees. Sight lines from driveways, drainage, underground services and the view of residents are all factors to be taken into consideration before a final planting confirmation is made and handed to the contractors. RVPS will canvass residents in properties adjacent to possible new trees and forward responses to Bromley Borough. The project timescale is to plant before Christmas 2015.

Update 7 June 2015 - Farnaby Road Tree Project
Monica Wiltshire, Tree Officer, RVPS, reports:

After several issues, with the support of Julian Fowgies, Principal Arboricultural Officer, London Borough of Bromley (LBB) and Councillor Colin Smith, I am pleased to say that all 16 newly planted oak trees are alive, when a month ago we thought 3 were dead. They look in a much better condition, all with cages, ties, water bags and repaired pits. Given their dodgy start to life, the health of the trees will be monitored from now on by Carol from Gristwood and Toms (the contractors) who specialises in young tree maintenance and the next quality assessment carried out by LBB will be at the end of August to ensure all the trees are properly established. Any feedback from residents in Farnaby Road will be welcomed; please send to me at trees.rvps@outlook.com.

Update 30 April 2015 - Statement on insurance-led demands to fell trees protected by a TPO
A statement supporting the preservation of trees has been issued by the London Borough of Bromley Residents’ Federation (LBBRF). It is entitled "A Statement on insurance-led demands to fell trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)".

We are urging council officers to resist applications to fell trees unnecessarily at the behest of insurance companies trying to save money. We ask that council officers make a critical analysis of the facts and not concede to the insurance companies’ demands simply to avoid threatened compensation costs.

If you come into dispute with an insurance company the statement may help you to argue your cause. 

Update 24 January 2015 - 
Farnaby Road Tree Project
It has been confirmed that the trees will be replanted once the tree pits have been prepared properly. We have been advised that the trees are being kept carefully in the meantime, and we will be seeking reassurance that the year’s guarantee which they come with will not be affected by all this messing about. 
Update 20 January 2015 - Farnaby Road Tree Project
Residents may have noticed that all the newly planted trees in Farnaby Road have just been removed. As has been noted on Twitter, the rumours that the Council have put them in a tree museum and are charging a dollar and a half just to see them are unfounded.

We were aware that the holes they sit in (the 'tree pits') had not been made/prepared correctly and that remedial action was necessary. We assume the trees have been temporarily removed to allow this to happen and are seeking confirmation of this.

Update 11 September 2014 - Farnaby Road Tree Project
The idea of this project has been very warmly received by home owners adjacent to possible tree replacement sites; Monica Wiltshire, RVPS tree officer, has visited 21 residents to seek their approval. On 2nd September Monica, Leslie Tucker and Euan McMaster met with Julian Fowgies, Principal Arboricultural Officer for the London Borough of Bromley to discuss the project. It was a very positive meeting followed by a site visit.

The programme will start with marking of the identified sites for tree pit construction for initial trial pits. The tree pit survey will begin in November with planting in January. A new tree costs around £200 dependent on species and £100 for the tree pit. If the tree dies within a year the contractor will replace it. We plan to contribute £3,000 to a total cost of around £6,000. In addition to planting new trees the project will include a general tidy up of trees, pruning as necessary and replacing diseased trees. We will be looking to plant medium to large trees, in maturity, to blend with existing trees. For example forest trees suitable for street planting like limes, oaks, maples, planes, birch and gingko will be considered by Julian and his team. A root barrier is placed around the circumference to stop root disruption.

Councillors Colin Smith, Nicky Dykes, and Russell Mellor in particular are interested in this project, and we seek our member’s views before the next RVPS members meeting takes place on 6 November 2014, when a final decision will be made. Please contact trees.rvps@outlookcom to let us know your views. 

Farnaby Road showing where trees have been lost through storms and disease in what was once a tree lined road

Update 9 September 2014 - tree project
At our meeting on 6 November 2014 we will be considering spending £3000 on a project to reinstate missing street trees in Farnaby Road. Bromley Council will be match funding this with £3000 and will also be looking to replace other missing street trees in our area as part of this project. This is a substantial, but affordable, amount of money for the Society to be spending and we invite members with an opinion on the matter to share it with us on 6 November.

Update 19 May 2014 - trees in Farnaby Road
We are pleased to announce that at last we have found a new volunteer, Monica Wiltshire, to be the Tree Officer of our society. So, after a hiatus, we hope to do two things:

  • Farnaby Road: having identified all the spaces and vacant tree pits we will now confirm that the owners living adjacent to these sites would be happy to have a new large tree planted there.
  • Our area more generally: we will also identify where all the missing trees are in our area, and confirm that the adjacent owners are happy for new ones to be planted.

Update 19 April 2014 – new street trees
The chairman was fortunate enough to have a new tree planted outside his house as this picture shows. If you were one of the lucky ones and also now have a tree please do not forget to water it.

The way to do it is to use the curious green bag that is at the bottom of the tree as these pictures and the video show. The green bag holds 20 gallons of water which is released slowly to saturate the ground around the tree and prevent runoff into the road. Fill it up using the slit at the top.

The chairman’s tree going in

Update 22 February 2014 – new street trees
There may soon be a possibility of the Council planting new street trees in our area. In the first instance, new trees may be planted in old, disused ‘tree pits’ like those pictured here.


If you have one of these outside your house and would like the Council to plant a new tree in it, please get in touch with us by responding to this e-mailing Planning.rvps@Outlook.com with the following information:

  • Location of disused tree pit:
  • Your name:

Do please encourage friends and neighbours to respond as well – we very much want to keep this area looking green and leafy.

At the July 2011 meeting (see home page for details) the Society will be discussing the funding of a major replanting of trees in Warren Avenue Playing Fields to happen in Winter 2011/12. If you wish to contribute to this discussion please come to this meeting. 

If you value our work, and are not already a member, please join us here 

Warren Avenue Playing Fields
As many members will know, these playing fields have lost a lot of mature trees in recent years and we (that is Brian Atkinson) have made heroic attempts to get them replaced. This has proved difficult, partly because while the Fields are owned by Bromley they are managed by Lewisham.

Some 7 trees have now been replaced (one shown above) but in a manner that is completely unacceptable. Some have not been staked, some are not caged. But worse, the trees were planted at the wrong time of year during an extremely hot and dry period and to compound this none of the trees have watering tubes and there has been no provision for on going watering by the contractor. Some trees started to die (within a week of planting!!) and one was blown over (see picture - because there was no stake until we installed one!) and they are only surviving now due to the efforts of the Society to keep them watered. 

We understand that the cost of these trees was in the region of £1000 but we are seeking confirmation. This in essence would have been totally wasted were it not for our efforts but it is still not clear whether the trees will survive. We have contacted both Lewisham and Bromley Councillors to see who is responsible for this shambles.

Madeira Avenue
The Council has recently protected a number of trees within the circled area, which is the rear gardens of houses in Farnaby Road where they front on to Madeira Avenue. We are waiting until the trees are again in leaf so we can identify which trees exactly are protected. Note: any work to protected trees should be agreed with the Council.