By Hannah Neary, Local Democracy Reporter
An historic London church has lost its fight to chop down a tree that damaged its wall.
St Gabriel’s Church, in Warwick Square, Pimlico has been told it cannot remove a bay tree from its grounds because it makes the area look nice.
The 180-year-old church asked Westminster City Council for permission to cut the tree down after it previously damaged the church yard wall.
The church is a Grade-II listed building and an expert said the garden wall was at risk of future damage because the tree keeps growing closer to it.
But the Tory-led council decided the tree, which is about 10m tall and has a long life-expectancy, should stay because it boosts the attractiveness of the local area.
The council made a tree preservation order (TPO) to protect the tree from being chopped down or cut back without permission from officials.
A TPO gives the council the power to decide if and when a tree is trimmed, removed or replaced.
A report by the council said an officer visited the church in May and saw that while it was clear the wall had been repaired, it was otherwise in a good condition with no signs of further cracking.
They believe no further repairs would be needed and the tree trunk is close to the wall but not touching it.
Westminster City Council’s planning committee unanimously agreed to protect the tree under a permanent TPO on Tuesday, April 5.
Pictured top: St Gabriel’s Church (Picture: Lisa Haseldine)