Council rules sycamore tree is worthy of protection despite complaints from neighbours

PUBLISHED: 09:14 09 January 2015

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A battle over whether a large sycamore tree should be granted protection was settled this week.

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s trees officer called for the tree, located in the garden of 4 Hythe Close, Burwell, to be offered protection against the threat of being cut down by its owners.

But neighbours argued that the tree overshadows their homes and poses a health and safety risk.

Councillors on the planning committee met last Wednesday and decided to enforce a tree preservation order, preventing it from being felled.

The owners applied to the district council to cut the tree down back in September after raising concerns about its size and the overshadowing of their house along with their neighbours’ houses.

But the council’s trees officer, Cathy White, deemed that the sycamore was healthy and a “significant specimen” and placed a tree protection order on it – preventing the work from going ahead.

Neighbours quickly objected to the order, telling the council that the tree would cause significant damage if it came down in high winds.

Michael and Alison Swan said in consultation with the council: “We’ve seen this sycamore grow and spread to such an extent where it now reaches the full length of our garden.

“It has got to such a point where it has reached and passed level with the back of our house. This is a major concern with the increase, and predicated increasing occurrence, of severe storms at any time of the year.”

Another neighbour told the council: “Bird droppings from birds roosting in the sycamore tree are polluting the gardens and causing a potential health hazard to residents and their visitors.”

But Mrs White said a program of regular pruning would “alleviate the problems” being experience by neighbours.

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