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Tottenhill residents call on West Norfolk Council to lift order preventing ‘dangerous’ trees from being cut down on Willow Place

A Tottenhill resident is calling for a council to lift an order preventing a “dangerous” row of trees from being cut down.

Hugh Hazelton says he is just one of several villagers living in the vicinity of Willow Place and Green Lane who are concerned that the 60ft Scots pines could come crashing down on to properties.

After a neighbour’s application to remove seven of the 17 trees was refused by West Norfolk Council in January, Mr Hazelton is now calling on the authority to think again and ease a Tree Protection Order (TPO) so they can be felled or reduced in height.

Hugh Hazelton next to one of the trees that has started leaning in Tottenhill
Hugh Hazelton next to one of the trees that has started leaning in Tottenhill

Speaking to the Lynn News, Mr Hazelton aid: “These trees have been a matter of concern for many years, both to ourselves and the neighbouring owners, but also to the occupants of three of the bungalows opposite and particularly to the two adjacent houses on our side.”

The ownership of the trees is divided between his property and his neighbour, who sought permission to remove them.

The Tottenhill resident said the pine trees are now around 45 years old, having been planted by a landowner in around 1979.

Trees that residents consider to be 'dangerous' in Tottenhill
Trees that residents consider to be 'dangerous' in Tottenhill

He described them as being “large, unsightly” and “dangerously close to several residential properties” which were built and occupied long before the trees were planted.

“As time passes these trees have become older, and their condition is not good,” he said.

“In particular, in the increasing unsettled climate which is now occurring bringing with it increasing frequency of storms with high winds, the sight of these huge trees swaying and lurching as they do, is very concerning.

“Also, quite large pieces regularly break off and sometimes fall into the road. More specifically still, one tree which is deformed and completely unbalanced has over the past two to three years started leaning across the road and pavement.”

Damage to the road surface in the vicinityDamage to the road surface in Tottenhill
Damage to the road surface in the vicinityDamage to the road surface in Tottenhill

Not only this, but the road and pavement surfaces now have “very visible lifting and cracking” he added, which he says indicates root movement

“That certainly has become more pronounced in recent years,” Mr Hazelton said.

His neighbour had sought permission to remove seven of the trees, stating that he was concerned about the implications if they were to fall and damage neighbouring property.

His application was refused though, after the council’s arboricultural officer said the justification for the felling and removal of them had “not been sufficiently demonstrated” and did not “outweigh the resulting harm to local amenity that would follow the loss of these valuable trees”.

He said that they “make a significant contribution to the landscape and amenity value of the area”.

But Mr Hazelton disagrees with this assessment. He said: “These trees serve no useful purpose, and are certainly not a ‘visual amenity’ of any obvious merit.

“Were one or more of certain trees within this group of seventeen pines to collapse two properties would be struck.

“Also, were any to fall easterly (admittedly less likely apart from the deformed tree which is leaning that way due to its own imbalanced weight) any one of three bungalows opposite would be hit.”

He said that “virtually every household” in Willow Place had signed letters of support for the trees to be removed, and he has sent a request to West Norfolk Council for an easing of the TPO to allow felling.

West Norfolk Council declined to comment on the matter.

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