Entertainment: Robbie WIlliams loses planning row to trim a 70ft tree

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Robbie Williams has been banned from cutting back a protected tree at his £17.5m home, despite reportedly having the support of his guitarist neighbour Jimmy Paige.

The Angels singer had applied for the 70ft tall Robinia tree to be cut back to a height of just one metre, arguing that it was partly rotten and damaging his garden wall in west London.

But the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has now refused his application, saying he had not provided evidence of the ‘extent of decay’.

Williams, 48, and Led Zeppelin rocker Page have repeatedly been at loggerheads in recent years over the former Take That star’s plans to build a mega basement at his mansion.

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But the pair whose homes are next door to each other are said to have presented a united front when Williams applied to reduce the height of his Robinia tree.

Planning documents reveal that no neighbours submitted formal objections or comments about the plan.

Instead it was reported last month that Stairway to Heaven guitarist Page, 78, was ‘fully behind’ the plan and accepted that the tree needed to be drastically trimmed.

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Council officials acting under delegated powers have now turned down the plan, saying that pollarding the tree to a height of just one metre would just allow it to grow back.

They argued that the singer could instead have his garden wall rebuilt to give the tree space to grow without causing more damage.

Williams had claimed in his application that decay was ‘visible at the base of the tree’ and it was causing his ‘front boundary wall to crack’.

He also argued that part of the outsize tree which is covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) ‘is touching the adjacent street lamp’ outside his property.

But Amanda Reid, the council’s Director of Planning and Place, dismissed the application in a letter last week to tree specialist Brian Roffey who is acting on behalf of Williams.

Williams and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, pictured, both agree the tree should be trimmed © Provided by Daily Mail Williams and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, pictured, both agree the tree should be trimmed

She ruled: ‘If there is decay at the base of the tree, this extent of decay needs to be quantified before the removal of this high amenity TPO’d tree can be considered.

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’If the tree is causing the wall to crack, this problem will not be rectified by pollarding the tree to a height of one metre, as the tree will regenerate.

‘Additionally, the wall could probably be rebuilt to allow future growth of the tree without damage reoccurring.’

But she held out a glimmer of hope for Williams in one aspect of his application, saying the council ‘would definitely grant permission’ to cut back the canopy of the tree to stop it interfering with the adjacent street lamp.

She wrote: ‘Foliage growing against street furniture does not necessitate the removal of a tree.’

Williams bought his listed home next door to Page’s Gothic mansion in 2013, and went on to upset the heavy rocker by drawing up plans to build an ‘iceberg-basement’ featuring an indoor pool, gym and underground passageway to the main house.

The dispute rumbled on for five years until October 2019 when Williams was finally given planning permission to do the work at his Grade Two star listed house.

Page had hotly contested the application, saying even the tiniest of vibrations could affect his own Grade One listed home, and damage his fragile ancient paintings and frescoes.

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The guitarist won a concession which meant the singer’s builders could only use hand-held tools to excavate the basement, meaning it would take years at great expense.

Page also objected to plans for a music studio and a summer terrace at Williams’ home.

It was thought that Williams had lost interest in his basement building project and was reportedly looking to sell his London property after relocating to Switzerland during the Covid pandemic.

But he recently appeared to revive the project by submitting guarantees that new air conditioning units for his pool would not exceed 25 decibels, which is said to be less than the sound of a person whispering.

Led Zeppelin were ironically once renowned as one of the loudest heavy metal bands in the world with performances of their ‘Whole Lotta Love’ reaching an ear-screeching 130 decibels at concerts in 1970 – one of the highest levels ever recorded at public events.

Noise-sensitive Page also complained in April 2019 about an application by another neighbour, insurance tycoon and former Prudential chairman Sir Harvey McGrath, to build four air-conditioning units at his £12.8 million mansion, but the guitarist lost that battle.

A new report by Robbie’s sound experts, Nova Acoustics, reveals that he will have to put in new measures to reduce the sound of his units by up to 8 dBs to meet the required ‘whispering’ level of 25dBs.

Before any building starts, his team has also promised to produce a construction traffic management plan, which includes the ‘routing of demolition, excavation and construction vehicles and access arrangements to the site.

It will also cover ‘the number and type of vehicles per day/week, details of any diversion or other disruption to the public highway and details of measures to protect pedestrians and other highway users.’

Williams has reportedly been renting out his London home to The Ivy restauranteur Richard Caring, since he moved to a new luxury mansion in Zurich.

Last September, he appeared to be winding up Page by mounting a poster reading ‘Let Me Evacuate You’ on the wall of a £6.75 million mansion he was selling in Compton Bassett, Wiltshire.

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