Fitzrovia News understands that the tree was removed to prevent a possible insurance claim from owners of the building behind where the tree was growing.
Councillor Tulip Siddiq, Camden’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities, said: “The tree was removed as it was causing tree root damage to a building nearby, and we intend to plant a replacement tree with a smaller root system. The Council only ever removes trees if they are dangerous, dying or due to tree root damage claims and this is always a last resort.”
However, residents living nearby say the the reasons for removing the tree are spurious.
Rebecca Hossack, who lives in Warren Street and had paid for the tree to be planted many years ago as part of a project she initiated to green Fitzrovia, said: “It is a great shame that this flourishing and beautiful tree, that brought a splash of softening greenery to west end of Warren Street, has been obliterated by the council just — it would appear — to assuage the routine anxieties of an insurance company.
“Whatever the council says, this was unnecessary. I am sick of small lollypop trees being planted all over London. This was a beautiful flowing tree with a bird’s nest in it. Totally healthy,” said Ms Hossack.
Other residents agreed. Sophie Pandit told Fitzrovia News: “I am very upset by the loss of the tree, not least because it was situated opposite our flat and I took great pleasure in looking out on it, but also because there seems to be a lack of transparency about the reason for its removal. It was the sole tree on the western end of Warren Street. Its loss will be keenly felt.”
The tree was well established and local people said it greatly enhanced that end of the street. The only other tree is on the corner of Fitzroy Street, about 150 metres away.