The tree in Camden Town and Daniel Craig and wife Rachel Weisz [Pic: Georges Bard]
Published: 11 January, 2017
By DAN CARRIER
A SOARING plane tree in the back garden of Hollywood stars Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig is under threat after a neighbour claimed its roots are damaging their home.
Camden Council are reviewing a request to cut down the 50-metre-plus tree, heavily trim another and remove wisteria, honeysuckle and a group of hornbeams which are being blamed for causing cracks to a house in a Camden Town side-street.
Other residents are unhappy, however, at the prospect of losing a tree which has stood for generations and become a local landmark in their back gardens.
The application has been submitted by the couple’s neighbour. The star of The Mummy and Deep Blue Sea, Ms Weisz married Mr Craig – who has played James Bond in four hit movies – in 2011.
An engineer’s report says the trees have caused subsidence in the neighbouring property, built in 1850, which has a three-storey extension at the back.
The report highlights a bathroom, two bedrooms, a living room, a conservatory, a utility room and a hallway, all with varying sizes of cracks in the walls, said to be caused by the trees.
But Colin Jacobson, who has lived in Parkway for 50 years, is among other neighbours who want Camden to tread carefully when deciding the application.
“We have lost so many trees in this stretch over the years. It used to be so, so much greener, with wonderful, mature back gardens throughout the neighbourhood,” he said. “Trees have been continuously cut back over fears of subsidence, while businesses and homes have built sheds and extensions, further whittling away green space. Traffic has increased in the road while trees are disappearing.
“These trees are not just aesthetically beautiful, they have been part of this neighbourhood, its feel, for so long. To have it taken away like this – well, it will be like losing a limb.”
He added: “Insurers want a simple life, and for them the solution is to cut down a tree. They say it’s because of subsidence but there isn’t always the correlation between them.
“I am concerned the council’s tree department haven’t even come to look at it.”
Subsidence specialist Stuart Harris said in a report to the Town Hall that the plane tree was clearly the cause of the damage, adding: “The cracks...[are] indicative of subsidence as a result of shrinkage of the clay subsoil due to the moisture extracting influence of the left hand neighbour’s rear plane trees and pear tree, along with the same neighbour’s front beech trees. In order to stabilise the property and prevent further damage occurring in the future, the cause of the movement needs to be addressed.”
Neither Mr Craig nor Ms Weisz responded to the New Journal’s requests for a comment.
If the plane is felled, it could find a new lease of life. The Town Hall has already been contacted by Camden Town-based joiner Bruce Saunders who has requested that, if it comes down, he can be allowed to remove the wood to turn it into furniture.