St Albans residents fear for their lives after 100ft tree crashes into gardens - trashing sheds and fences

PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 September 2020

The fallen tree landed in gardens of St Edmunds Walk, St Albans.

The fallen tree landed in gardens of St Edmunds Walk, St Albans.

Archant

These are the scenes of devastation left in the wake of Storm Francis, which left neighbours in fear of their lives.

The fallen tree landed in gardens of St Edmunds Walk, St Albans.The fallen tree landed in gardens of St Edmunds Walk, St Albans.

It was caused when a 100ft tree standing on land behind properties in St Edmunds Walk, on St Albans’ Highfield estate, crashed to the ground at approximately 10.10am on Tuesday August 25.

It fell onto the back thirds of three neighbouring properties, destroying fences and sheds in the process.

One of the residents, who asked not to be named, said: “My neighbour in the past has complained about the trees on this land to the council, housing association and Highfield Park Trust, but no one would take responsibility for them. They were very overgrown and the top part of the one that fell down was dead at the top.

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“Currently, all three properties are not secure and we are very concerned about our safety, none of us slept on Wednesday due to the high winds and worrying that the other overgrown trees would also fall onto our properties.

“There are at least six overgrown trees on this land near to our properties which were originally part of the Hill End Hospital site. I have lived at my property for 11 years, my neighbours for over 20 years, and no maintenance has ever been carried out on these trees. We are at a loss as to what to do next, as no one is listening or helping us!”

Her daughter Debbie Thayne said: “Nobody has maintained these for years and it’s now got to the stage that my 81 year old mum is fearing for her life - she was in real shock this week when the storm caused one of them to crash into her garden. My sister complained about these trees two years ago - but nothing has been done.”

St Albans district council discovered that the land is actually owned by PA Housing Association, and a spokesperson for the company said: “On the afternoon of Friday 28 August, a resident at St Edmunds Walk contacted PA Housing to inform us that a tree had fallen into their garden, causing damage to their fencing and sheds, as well as to the fencing of two neighbouring properties. This was the first notification we received about the fallen tree.

“A tree company attended St Edmunds Walk on Saturday 29 August to assess the damage, and we are now in the process of having the fallen tree removed. We have arranged for a member of the PA Housing team to visit the residents affected.”


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