Controversial St Albans tree finally set to be cut down in size

Tree dwarfing house in Claudian Place

Tree dwarfing house in Claudian Place - Credit: Archant

A Good Samaritan local company has stepped in and offered to reduce the size of a tree which is dwarfing a St Albans house - at no charge.

Managers of Gristwood and Toms in Shenley made the offer after reading about the tree in Claudian Place in the Herts Advertiser earlier this month.

The aspen tree towers over the home of an elderly lady who does not speak much English and the issue of who is responsible for its maintenance was taken up by her neighbour Brenda Kember.

But both the district and county councils were reluctant to take responsibility for it and the company on Land Registry records as the owners of the land appear to have been dissolved last year.

A frustrated Brenda maintained that Claudian Place, which is on the Verulam Estate, had been managed by the district council since the roads were adopted and not only had the council planted the trees but they had cut the grass for nearly 40 years.

To Brenda’s dismay, the district council just kept referring her to the landowners to get the work done.

With the help of one of the-then MP Anne Main’s parliamentary assistants, the county council was persuaded to search for the original land adoption documents, Brenda has still not heard the outcome of their investigation.

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Then recently Gristwood and Toms put a notice up on the tree outlining their intensions to reduce its size in case of any objections - of which there have been none to date.

They will also be contacting the landowners Davis Estates at their last known address in Exeter as a courtesy.

Darren Kilby, head of sales and marketing at Gristwood and Toms, said they would probably not carry out the work until after next week’s elections but they did not want to leave it too much longer than that.

He went on: “When we saw the article we saw that there was a really simple solution to what had become a very complicated problem. It seemed so simple so why wouldn’t we do it.”

The work will take around half a day to complete and involve reducing the size of the tree, removing dead wood from it and improving the shape. It would normally cost in the region of £200 to £300 to complete but the company has offered to do it for nothing.

A delighted Brenda thanked Gristwood and Toms as well as local political representatives and the Herts Advertiser for their help in highlighting the situation.