Nicky and Keith Smith's fear over tree stump in their Southampton back garden

Nicky and Keith Smith

Nicky and Keith Smith

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

JUST weeks ago a giant tree crashed through their garden fence, narrowly missing motorists on a nearby road.

After it fell, experts deemed the 30ft diseased oak too dangerous to leave as it was and cut it down to a four-metre tall leafless stump.

But Nicky and Keith Smith are frightened that it could fall again as they have been told it must stay in their garden as it is still under a tree preservation order (TPO) which has been in place since 1974.

The order means the couple from Canterbury Avenue, Sholing, must ask permission from Southampton City Council before any work is carried out on the 200-year-old tree, despite it having bracket fungi, which can decay and weaken trees from the inside.

Nicky, 46, a driver and mum-of-three, said: “I’m worried that the rest of it will come down and hurt someone as behind my fence is a road and a pavement.

“I think it’s ridiculous. I assumed they were going to take the rest down to just a small stump but they have left the damaged part of the tree and a big chunk above.

“They said that’s what they count as safe because there are no leaves on it so it won’t catch in the wind but it was a beautiful day when it fell so you can’t say that it’s not going to happen again.

“I want them to reduce the bill and take the preservation order off so we can get rid of it properly.”

The couple were charged £2,617 for the workers to come out and clear the leaves and smaller branches, which they say is too much.

The council said the tree preservation order is still in place because the remaining pollard – a tree with all its leaves and dead branches removed – is still alive.

They are investigating whether the tree is in a dangerous state.

A spokesman said: “The remaining part of the tree has a tree preservation order because it is still alive – technically it would be classed as what is called a ‘heavy pollard’.

“Because the tree is under a TPO, were it to be felled and removed completely, the normal procedure would be for it to be replaced by a young tree of a similar type.

“If the householder wishes to fell the remaining stem, it can be removed if it is regarded as being imminently dangerous, but the onus of proof would be upon the householder, or by giving the council five days’ notice if it is considered dangerous, but not an imminent threat. If neither of these applies, the tree owner can apply for its removal.”

Across Southampton, there are 517 TPOs in force which cover 3,927 trees.

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:02pm Fri 29 Aug 14

stockportchris says...

Absolutely disgusting to charge that amount of money, yet again Southampton City Council tendering out services to the likes of Peter Best tree surgeon's to charge what they want. By the looks of things both work, and will have to pay it.
Absolutely disgusting to charge that amount of money, yet again Southampton City Council tendering out services to the likes of Peter Best tree surgeon's to charge what they want. By the looks of things both work, and will have to pay it. stockportchris
  • Score: 3

7:16pm Fri 29 Aug 14

*ay*carumba* says...

The tree belongs to them not the council, why should our council tax be used to bail out people who don't take responsibility for their own property? They could have arranged their own tree surgeon to sort the tree out but chose to pass the responsibility onto the council.
The tree belongs to them not the council, why should our council tax be used to bail out people who don't take responsibility for their own property? They could have arranged their own tree surgeon to sort the tree out but chose to pass the responsibility onto the council. *ay*carumba*
  • Score: 7

7:31pm Fri 29 Aug 14

House Sparrow says...

The charge for the romaval and clearing does seem excessive. We had a large silver birch felled and removed last year and it cost less than £200.
The charge for the romaval and clearing does seem excessive. We had a large silver birch felled and removed last year and it cost less than £200. House Sparrow
  • Score: 3

11:12pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Stubs says...

House Sparrow wrote:
The charge for the romaval and clearing does seem excessive. We had a large silver birch felled and removed last year and it cost less than £200.
I think this is a lot bigger than your silver birch tree and a lot more dangerous . It wouldn't be worth getting the shredder and the chain saws out for £200.
[quote][p][bold]House Sparrow[/bold] wrote: The charge for the romaval and clearing does seem excessive. We had a large silver birch felled and removed last year and it cost less than £200.[/p][/quote]I think this is a lot bigger than your silver birch tree and a lot more dangerous . It wouldn't be worth getting the shredder and the chain saws out for £200. Stubs
  • Score: -1

12:24am Sat 30 Aug 14

oooarrr says...

Get it down, then replace it with a similar, younger tree Then dig that up every couple of years and replace it again. Can't understand why it hasn't grown, one of life's mysteries I suppose ;-)
Get it down, then replace it with a similar, younger tree Then dig that up every couple of years and replace it again. Can't understand why it hasn't grown, one of life's mysteries I suppose ;-) oooarrr
  • Score: 3

12:50am Sat 30 Aug 14

southy says...

stockportchris wrote:
Absolutely disgusting to charge that amount of money, yet again Southampton City Council tendering out services to the likes of Peter Best tree surgeon's to charge what they want. By the looks of things both work, and will have to pay it.
If they had to pay then the house is a privately owned house and it becomes the resposibility of Landlord and not the tennet unless they are the owners
And your right it is over price, I know the work libility insurence is not cheap for this kind of work, but there is no way that they should of charge £2,617 for that job, It will cost me £800 to get the tree removed from my back garden the roots are rotten and the council is being very slow in giving or not giving permission to pull the tree down, But if any thing do happen and it falls onto a building or wall and into the road, the Council will have a massive insurence claim against them, because they have been noticifed of the condition of the Tree.
[quote][p][bold]stockportchris[/bold] wrote: Absolutely disgusting to charge that amount of money, yet again Southampton City Council tendering out services to the likes of Peter Best tree surgeon's to charge what they want. By the looks of things both work, and will have to pay it.[/p][/quote]If they had to pay then the house is a privately owned house and it becomes the resposibility of Landlord and not the tennet unless they are the owners And your right it is over price, I know the work libility insurence is not cheap for this kind of work, but there is no way that they should of charge £2,617 for that job, It will cost me £800 to get the tree removed from my back garden the roots are rotten and the council is being very slow in giving or not giving permission to pull the tree down, But if any thing do happen and it falls onto a building or wall and into the road, the Council will have a massive insurence claim against them, because they have been noticifed of the condition of the Tree. southy
  • Score: -1

9:12am Sat 30 Aug 14

Quentin Heslop says...

A lot of the cost is in disposal. It's live waste and heavily taxed.
A lot of the cost is in disposal. It's live waste and heavily taxed. Quentin Heslop
  • Score: -1

10:09am Sat 30 Aug 14

forest hump says...

Quentin Heslop wrote:
A lot of the cost is in disposal. It's live waste and heavily taxed.
Nonsense, the wood will be sold and the small trimmings will be shredded and sold as mulch. They have been done like a kipper. Best thing for the stump is either drive copper nails around its circumference and (or) cover it with a tarpaulin which will shield the light and kill it.
[quote][p][bold]Quentin Heslop[/bold] wrote: A lot of the cost is in disposal. It's live waste and heavily taxed.[/p][/quote]Nonsense, the wood will be sold and the small trimmings will be shredded and sold as mulch. They have been done like a kipper. Best thing for the stump is either drive copper nails around its circumference and (or) cover it with a tarpaulin which will shield the light and kill it. forest hump
  • Score: -1
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree