Homeowners were given the go-ahead to cut back an oak tree said to have been damaging the structure of a Summertown house.
The tree had been at the centre of a legal wrangle between former Thomas Cook boss Harriet Green, the city council and campaign group the Oxford Canaries that ended up in the High Court.
In a judgement last month, now published online, High Court judge Sir Ross Cranston varied an injunction obtained by the Canaries in September temporarily preventing the Lathbury Road oak from being ‘felled, maimed or otherwise injured’.
Varying the injunction, Sir Ross allowed works to be done to the tree’s upper branches – or crown – to limit any risk to the public.
Attempts to fell the tree, which owners Harriet Green and Graham Clarkson say is damaging the structure of their home, have been controversial.
Oxford City Council granted permission for the tree to be felled after an application was made in February.
It was due to be cut down on May 25, but the works were abandoned after campaigners from Oxford Canaries – linked to the Extinction Rebellion movement – staged a protest.
An interim injunction was granted last month preventing work on the tree, after an application by a Ms Upton of the Oxford Canaries. That followed a concern – which turned out to be wrong – the tree would be felled in early September. The owners were in fact planning work to thin the tree’s crown, as it had been weakened during the aborted tree surgery work in May.
A report by expert Dr Dealga O’Callaghan, commissioned by the tree’s owners, said the tree had ‘serious structural flaws’ that meant it was certain one of the trunks would fall down during high winds in the autumn.
The bid to vary the injunction was opposed by lawyers for Ms Upton.
In his written ruling, the judge Sir Ross said: “In my view, the application must be granted. I note at the outset that Mr Fry, for the Council, has stated that the Council is content with both Dr O’Callaghan’s report and also with the works that he has proposed.”