I have just moved into a new house, just wondering if anyone can identify this tree for me, i dont understand why it has lost so much foliage at this time of year and i have noticed the same tree in the same condition in quite a few other peoples gardens so its not uncommon. Any help is much appreciated!
From what I can see in your pictures here, the tree looks like it was choked with Ivy and the main Ivy stems have been cut, resulting in the brown dead leaves that are visible. Whilst Ivy isn't a parasite on a tree, it can out compete the trees canopy leaves for sunlight and the result is a loss of foliage for the tree.
A better picture of the trees leaves might help in an ID.
I agree that ivy can sometimes cause problems with trees - usually in winter gales when it increases wind resistance of tree to the strong winds - but it very rarely overwhelms a tree and it doesn't "strangle" the tree. In fact mature ivy, that flowers and fruits, is a very important food source for pollinating insects in late autumn and birds in late spring.
In this case the remains of the ivy only gets up to the level of the trellis on the building beside the tree, not competing with the crown foliage at all. I can't help with you with the why of the defoliated state of the tree, especially if this is not the only example in your area - it could be so many factors in isolation or combination...