Friday, February 24, 2012

Trees cut down after single complaint that berries could be slippery

Upset pensioners have hit out after "beautiful trees" were hacked down following a complaint about slippery berries. Croydon Council workers felled the three rowan trees at the Ashwood Gardens sheltered accommodation block in New Addington in south London on February 4. Susan Findlay, 72, who has lived in the supported housing for three years, said: "No-one could quite believe it when we saw what was going on.

"The beautiful trees have gone. They have been here for decades, more than 30 years, and now all that has gone to waste. The council worker told me the trees were being chopped down because there was a fear that one of us could fall over by slipping on the berries which had fallen from the trees but it is just rubbish. There are a lot of people who are upset here. We were disappointed and disgusted to see that happen.

"We have a residents' association here where we are supposed to raise concerns and make decisions democratically, but this hasn't happened here. I cannot believe the council has listened to just one man." The council said it had received a complaint about berries causing a slip risk. Mrs Findlay has said the majority of people in the sheltered housing block are upset over the trees' demise.

She said: "I don't know anyone who is happy about it, apart from the person who has complained. I am just not sure why the council would chop down the trees on one person's word. As far as I can see it, the trees have gone because they were blocking one person's view and that is just not on. Everyone is very upset here."


Gareth said...

Been there seen that. After an accident where the driver blamed wet leaves on the road for his losing control (nothing to do with the fact that he must have been doing about twice the speed limit) the local authority sent round workers to cut down trees near the bend "to prevent future accidents".

There have been trees on that bend for as long as anybody can remember and nobody can remember the leaves ever being blamed for an there accident before.

A call to the council revealed that the whole thing was caused by somebody in the highways department not understanding the risk management process. Also coupled with a fear that the council could be sued. I suspect that's the problem in Croydon too.

Before they were stopped the workmen had cut down two trees, one of which was on private land.

Ratz said...

One scurvy gimp in Fortwilliam in Belfast claimed that branches were falling off a 60 year old tree and risked injuring his children. He had a tree preservation order rescinded and the tree was felled. It turned out he just wanted more light in his back garden. I'd have let the tree fall onto his house.

Anonymous said...

Re: Ratz's comment - what a selfish bastard.

Anonymous said...

If it can be proved that there was nothing wrong with the tree then the authority that rescinded the preservation order has comitted an offence as has the man in question.

Ratz said...

Anonymous (2): That's rather difficult to prove now that the tree in question is so many bits of wood chipping. I took photos and asked questions of the people who were felling the tree and afterwards of the groundskeepers who had regularly come by, yet none could see anything wrong with it. It was only once it was down that it came to light why this had happened. Having counted the rings (and written upon the stump something rude about the gimp who got it cut down (ahem)), the tree that was easily +3 feet in diameter got replaced (well away from the house in question) with something about the dimensions of a lolly-pop stick.

Anonymous said...

There was a story awhile back about I think a 6 month old baby dying on a zoo outing. Someone was taking a photo of baby and one of it's parents standing by the zoo entrance when a huge branch came crashing down right onto baby's head. So sometimes there is a valid reason for taking the trees down. Just google "baby killed falling tree branch central park zoo".

Gareth said...

@Anonymous3 your logic is somewhat ridiculous. Just because in one case a branch dropped on a baby that means that the case in this story is valid too? You need to take a course on reasoning.

The attitude that trees are dangerous and should be cut down is disingenuous at best. Trees need to be maintained to prevent the sort of accidents you desribe. An occasional check by a tree surgeon with judicious lopping would have prevented that accident. Businesses think however that this will be prohibitively expensive. Not nearly so expensive as the public liability claim when the insurers refuse to pay out because you have failed to maintain your trees.