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Sycamore has won the battle we are selling up!

Last post 21-04-2008 5:12 PM by Rae. 47 replies.

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  • 05/02/2008 06:26 PM
    • Plantman
    • North Yorkshire
    • 30 Jan 2008
    • 276
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    Hi Rae, Sounds like a very common problem. I am not sure what the current rules are, and have therefore e mailed a close friend for clarification. She is a tree officer for a council in the midlands, so she will be in the perfect role to let me know. Many years ago when I was training as a tree surgeon, providing the tree did not have a TPO on it, you could cut back the offending branches to your fenceline, but no further, provided you offered the branches back to the owners. I have asked er to let me know if this rule still applies and hwether there are any changes and the penalties that may apply. We don't want you getting in trouble now, do we? I only hope that Roger is incorrect. Sounds like serious fines to me for an unprotected Sycamore. Cutting back the branches will help a little but won't stop the seeds etc from infesting your garden. Will let you know when I do. Plantman.

  • 06/02/2008 11:05 PM
    • Plantman
    • North Yorkshire
    • 30 Jan 2008
    • 276
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    Hi Rae. I have heard back from my tree officer and this is what she has to say. In my 'professional capacity' as you so elegantly put it ...... my advice would be: Firstly, check if the tree is in a Conservation Area: if it is, you would need to give the Council six weeks' notice of any pruning works. If it's not, you are quite right - the situation is as it was all those years ago when Derek Patch and Peter Bridgeman were teaching us! - ie. a landowner affected by a tree on neighbouring property can cut off all the growth overhanging the boundary, and offer the prunings to the tree owner - not just chucking them over the fence, as sometimes happens! Two other caveats: the landowner has no right to go onto his neighbour's property to carry out this work, without first obtaining the neighbour's (in this case the Council's) permission, and secondly, the work must not be carried out in a manner which will prejudice the safety of the tree, or cause the premature demise of the tree - eg. if, in order to follow the exact boundary line, the tree is effectively cut in half: the tree owner could have grounds for taking legal action, in relation to damage caused to his property. I would suggest, if the person affected by the tree has not already done so, that they discuss it with the Council. It may well be that the Council will try to be 'a good neighbour', and either arrange for the work to be done, or make a contribution to the costs. (This will depend upon the individual Council's policies and the nature of the 'nuisance' that the overhanging growth is causing.) So, in conclusion ... if the above 'precautions' are taken ..... no fines should arise!!! Hope this clarifies the situation. Plantman.

  • 13/02/2008 02:18 PM
    • Rae
    • Dorset
    • 31 Jul 2007
    • 221
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    First of all a HUGE thank you to everyone who has put their ideas and knowledge down to help me. Plantman and GardensGreenGrimsby and Roger you have all been most helpful. Quite difficult to know how to approach. You see I went through a tree surgeon and got the forms. I did not submit in the end as I was told by the TS and every other Tom Dick and Harry in this area what our council are like and that it was not even worth starting the application. I also thought that if I did decide to chop some branches down I didnt want to alert the council to this ie I also did not want them to say categorically NO just in case I chopped them anyway. Does that make sense?! However, there are TPOs on all trees including my sycamore beauty. The tree is in the park be it that its trunk (which I think you are right I believe it may have been pollarded at some point) is right against our fence - it touchs our iron railings. All three trees (the oak, sickamore :-)) and the confier) are above our roof top. They are also pretty close to our house - the sycamore is probably around 25 feet from our sitting room window. So you can imagine the impact they have on our light etc. I am going to contact a bona fide tree surgeon who works for the council as well and get this situation looked at. I think if I shout loud enough and long enough they may well hear me. With regard to the council contributing - this is a definite no - if the council do ever allow work to be done to their beloved trees - you pay and sometimes they ask for a new tree to be purchased and paid for by you. I will keep you posted.

  • 13/02/2008 04:42 PM
    • Plantman
    • North Yorkshire
    • 30 Jan 2008
    • 276
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    Sounds like an awkward situation. Who was it that said there was a blacket TPO? It may be worth while contacting the council concerned and requesting a copy of the TPO, just to make sure. I had a similar situation, albeit many years ago, in Surrey, where the client was told by a well respected tree surgeon that there was a blanket TPO on all the trees in her vicinity. When she checked, the only trees that were actually covered were the Beech and the Oak species, not the sycamore. She wouldn't have known if she hadn't looked into it further. It may well be that there is a TPO on every tree. If there is, you've lost nothing. It's worth a try. It's cheaper than the fine, or moving house. Don't tell them why, just request a copy. Best of luck Plantman.

  • 13/02/2008 07:06 PM
    • Rae
    • Dorset
    • 31 Jul 2007
    • 221
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    Thanks Plantman that is indeed sound advice. I will call tomorrow and start the process. When we moved we were given documentation on the TPOs. This is Poole, Dorset. One of the reasons I loved it down here apart from the BEACHES !! was the trees. I work in property and I now know that lovely though they are Poole's obsession with trees causes alot of people heart ache - beautiful properties that are just cast in shade all day. But they plant plant plant. Our next door neighbours have no trees up to their fence - but they do suffer abit from ours! Now the council has planted 4 sycamores and they are about 6 ft apart. So in years to come their house which is already suffering from our trees and the trees in the park will be in darkness.

  • 15/02/2008 07:00 AM
    • Thumper
    • 06 Oct 2007
    • 34
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    Rae I sympathise with you, we had a similar problem with our local council. We back onto woodland and their tree which was taking up our fence panels concrete posts and all. After years, literally, of letters they agreed to us getting it lopped but we had to pay and also they had to be there to watch!!! The council's argument was that the tree was there before the house and I retorted that they agreed to the houses being built. We keep all our trees (beeach, oak, ash and conifers) regularly checked every 3 years which isn't cheap and I rather stupidly thought the council would too. If it is in a park could you not encourage the local dogs to wee up it and would that not kill it??

  • 15/02/2008 10:33 AM
    • Rae
    • Dorset
    • 31 Jul 2007
    • 221
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    Tee hee - it would take more than a bit of dog wee to kill that sucker! Its huge and I hate it more and more everytime I talk about it more hate fills me!! :-)))))

  • 15/03/2008 10:15 AM
    • Rae
    • Dorset
    • 31 Jul 2007
    • 221
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    Hello everyone - me again. Been working away from home so now want to tackle this problem. I wanted to ask Roger Horn and GardenGreensGrimsby WHO I approach at our council. But a new dimension has now occurred so wanted to give you the facts. I did not mention that being a new house the council told the builder to put iron railing fencing at the bottom of our garden and they also agreed (council requested this) that they plant a Laurel hedge. The hedge has been in now for 2.5 years and has not grown at all (I have spent a fortune on the Magi mix stuff) - so our other gripe is that these trees also stop a LAUREL hedge growing and therefore no privacy from the park as we are stuck with the iron railings and its like living in a goldfish bowl! I did alert the council to this last summer and asked if they could plant something their side to help with our privacy (there is a huge hedge planted in the park which stops abruptly at our back fence)! Also, the said sycamore has been pruned in such a way that the trunk is like a climbing frame into our garden from the park and the other night some youths climbed it and threw eggs at our house! We jetted it off (at midnight) and the community policeman came round and said he would talk to the council about getting something done. Answer came back - TPO nothing we can do! So my question is - WHO do I contact. I have contacted the council after the egging and no one has called me back. Would it be best to use a tree surgeon to do the form filling and the contacting? If I do it - who should I address my letters / phone calls to? This park is also being done up and there is a team responsible for this - they are the ones who asked the house builder to put iron railings as they are "pleasing to the eye of the people in the park..." ie the youths with eggs! Your help once again would be appreciated.

  • 15/03/2008 01:32 PM
    • miranda
    • Oxfordshire
    • 17 Nov 2004
    • 4,160
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    If it was me, I'd start bothering my MP at this point, Rae. Sometimes they can jolly things along a bit.

  • 15/03/2008 03:09 PM
    • Rae
    • Dorset
    • 31 Jul 2007
    • 221
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    Hi Miranda - yes I will use my MP if needs be - but would like to try and get something done through the proper channels first. I now have the egging incident and also we have a bin in the park which is directly under one of the branches of our "trees" and this was set alight last summer by some youths and the fire brigade came out as there was a danger that the trees might catch. So I feel like a nice gentle polite approach at first. But need to know who I write to? Is it the Tree Officer or who is it?

  • 15/03/2008 04:06 PM
    • miranda
    • Oxfordshire
    • 17 Nov 2004
    • 4,160
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    I can see why you're frustrated, Rae. It sounds like it can be a real nuisance. You could phone the environment department at your local council and ask them who you need to talk to. They should know, or at least be able to point you in the right direction.

  • 15/03/2008 04:07 PM
    • miranda
    • Oxfordshire
    • 17 Nov 2004
    • 4,160
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    I said about your MP as they sometimes welcome issues like this to get involved in. Makes them look like they're doing their jobs properly.

  • 16/03/2008 04:52 PM
    • Digger
    • Northern UK
    • 18 Jul 2005
    • 5,234
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    If you have definately given up the fight then it is best to walk away with your dignity still in tact, But it is damned annoying, we are having a ding dong again with the council about the sycamores right outside our garden fence, I am thinking about getting one of those four wheeled scooter things but we can't get past the tree roots with it.

    digger Devil Sage of the fells
  • 17/03/2008 02:16 PM
    • Rae
    • Dorset
    • 31 Jul 2007
    • 221
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    Yes digger these councils can be very hard to work with! I have emailed today to the teamleader for the park "refurbishment". She remembered me from last summer. I pointed out that they (the council) had stipulated to the builder of our house that they must only put in a wrought iron rail fence and plant the Laurel hedge (our side). I told her that it had not grown an inch since last summer when I contacted them previously and had been planted now for 2.5 years and had not grown nor filled out and the reason was the trees. She has passed my email over to the leader of the "open spaces team" !! She says it sounds like maintenance required. If there is a God out there I am praying!

  • 09/04/2008 03:40 AM
    • schol49
    • Oban Argyll
    • 28 Aug 2005
    • 81
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    According to This

    http://www.carrifran.org.uk/QUELCH.HTM

    as I thought Sycamores quantify as a Colonising Native Tree Species which means that I find it hard to believe it has a Preservation Order on IT  If You offered A  Fresh Tree or Two to replace it situated away from your property I`m sure you may find the council ameniable especially if through a Lawyer you hinted You may be forced to get a Order against it as A Health Hazard.

    Running Wild in The Wilds of Argyll