08:50PM, Thursday 04 August 2016
Confusion over land ownership has left residents at a loss over how to deal with a large branch which came crashing down behind their homes on Monday night.
The branch came from a pine tree which sits in front of garages that belong to a row of terraced houses in Boyn Hill Road.
The Royal Borough’s tree services department told Jose Pieltain and Gavin Williams it could not help to remove the branch as the land belongs to the Crown Estate.
But the homeowners have now been told the Crown Estate does not own it after all.
The branch is blocking access to the garages of the homes as well as worrying the residents that more branches, or the tree itself could fall.
Mr Pieltain, who lives in Boyn Hill Road with his wife and two children, said: “We are lucky it happened late at night so my son was not out here playing football, or my wife was not taking out the car.
“We asked them (the council) last year to remove the tree and now this has happened.
“The council have pushed it off as not being anything to do with them. It’s disappointing.”
Mr Pieltain wrote to the council last March on behalf of the homeowners whose garages back onto the tree, requesting for it to be removed and highlighting the safety concerns.
The council instead placed a tree protection order on the pine due to it being ‘one of the most prominent trees in the area’ and said ownership of the land would be transferred to the Crown Estate.
Mr Williams has lived in the road for 16 years and is disappointed with the council’s response.
He said: “It’s like they washed their hands of it.”
A council spokesman said: “Although it is protected with a tree preservation order works can be carried out if urgent pruning or cutting is needed.
“However, the council has no responsibility over the tree in question and the landowner would need to be contacted about any issues.
“The resident who brought this to the Royal Borough’s attention has since been provided with details of local firms who are able to carry out emergency work if required.”