A LARGE tree which served as a local landmark in St Albans has been felled after permission to remove it was granted by the council.

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The London Plane tree in the garden of Kamillo’s Restaurant at the junction of London Road and Marlborough Road was removed after it was discovered the roots were going beneath a neighbour’s property.

The move has angered some who feel the tree was an important part of the street scene but owner of the restaurant Kamillo Bendahman said he had to make the difficult decision because of the effect it was having on his neighbours.

Mr Bendahman said: “I really didn’t want to take the tree down but it was causing major problems for our neighbours.

“I am going to replace it with something smaller and suitable – I have an interest in making sure this area looks attractive too.”

Previous attempts to cut down the tree in 2010 were halted when it was discovered the restaurant didn’t have the appropriate permission.

Contractors were in the process of removing the tree when a member of the council’s tree department drove past and saw what was happening. The officer put a stop to the work and explained that permission was needed to carry out any work on a conservation area protected tree.

The contractors claimed they were unaware that this was the case and the restaurant said that a previous landlord had been granted permission 10 years ago. Mr Bendahman told the Herts Advertiser at the time that he wasn’t aware the permission had expired.

Eric Roberts, a tree warden, said: “This whole process will, hopefully, remind people that you can’t just cut down trees without checking if permission is needed.

“It is a shame to lose this tree, especially in that area where trees are lacking. But it’s difficult to argue, given the proximity of the neighbouring property, that the roots weren’t affecting the building. I’m consoling myself with that fact.”

In 2010, Mr Roberts called for the contractors to be fined for their ignorance of local restrictions.

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