Housing developer Taylor Wimpey have left a family outraged and saddened after they cut down a tree in their garden.
It was a mature tree with a trunk diameter of around 70cm with around 1/3rd of the trunk on the new development and 2/3rds on the homeowners land.
Taylor Wimpey have said that the tree was dead, but the trunk appears healthy and there was fully leave cover last year.
The new development has properties from around £288K to £475K.
Wayne England, homeowner, said:
We woke up one morning to find tree surgeons felling a tree that sits on the border of our property.
Taylor Wimpey authorised the felling without any notification or discussion with ourselves.
They knocked on the window to inform us but by this point the cut had been done and despite my protest they had to continue.
It became apparent that a neighbour had been emailing Taylor Wimpey and between them had organised this felling.
We bought the house in 2018 with the knowledge that Alborough Gate was to be built on the field but also safe in the knowledge that tree would act as a good shield against the development.
The behaviour of both Taylor Wimpey and the neighbour is sickening – my children sat in the kitchen crying as they felled the tree.
It was not causing problems to anyone and despite them saying it was dead was not their decision to make alone.
Harrogate Borough Council have confirmed that there wasn’t a specific Tree Preservation Order (TPO), although Wayne England has documentation during the purchase of his property that suggest the tree had protection. The tree was a key reason for purchasing the property. The family moved in during 2018 and were aware of the new Taylor Wimpey development, but the tree was giving a visible barrier.
Wayne England said:
The tree was on our land as well as Taylor Wimpey -I have measured the stump at 27″ and 16″ is on our side and 11″ on theirs.
Our fence butts up to the tree at both sides.
I want the tree back to be honest as it formed the basis of purchasing the house in the first place due to it shielding us from the developers.
Their own plans don’t come near our back fence due to the trees that are in place.
The tree before the development (on right of group of 3)
A spokesperson from Taylor Wimpey North Yorkshire said:
The tree in question bordered land our Aldborough Gate development is sited on, and we sincerely apologise for any upset caused by removing the tree prematurely without thorough consultation.
Following a complaint received, our appointed arboriculturist confirmed that the tree was dead and we acted on their advice to fell due to the health and safety risks posed by forecasted high winds and poor weather conditions.
We have offered to install fencing where the tree stood and apologise again for any shock or distress caused.
The site manager at the time was distraught when he could see we had no notification of it.
He straight away offered to put a fence up.
At this moment in time the stump is still there with our fence butting up to it either side, so I assume they are going to remove the stump and roots.
We were then contacted by Andy Garbutt at Taylor Wimpey, who was involved in the decision and he believes that they assumed they had been dealing with us due to the amount of calls only now to realise that it was the neighbour.
His words to me were “why would a neighbour create so much fuss if the tree wasn’t in there garden”
Wayne has said there are still a number of outstanding questions to be answered:
- Why didn’t they write to us asking for permission to enter our property
- Why knock on the window after they put the cut in which doomed the tree anyway
- Can a neighbour really persuade a major construction company to fell a tree next door.
- Is a fence a realistic alternative to a mature tree.
- If it was dead why were we admiring the leaf during the summer
We had no survey shown to us prior to say the tree was dead and whilst it was not fully blossoming the tree did leaf up last summer which was good to see.