Lime tree cannot be removed...despite it causing entire street’s sewage to back up into Northampton council house toilet

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A lime tree has caused hundreds of pounds of damage to a Northampton council house, but local authority red tape means it has still not been dug up since the problem was discovered two years ago.

Brian Carter’s home in Hereward Road, Delapre, has serious subsidence caused by the roots of a tree growing directly outside his home.

The tree has collapsed a sewer, causing the whole building to tilt and has led to large cracks and damp appearing in Mr Carter’s bedroom.

As a council tenant, he asked Northampton Partnership Homes to solve permanently the issue, only to be told that the tree belonged to Northamptonshire County Council, which has not given permission for the tree to be killed.

However, a Northamptonshire County Council spokeswoman said the problem is that, although NPH contacted it in January, the council homes organisation has still not filled out a claim form for assessment of the damage, which is needed before a decision can be taken whether the tree should be removed.

Mr Carter said: “Two years this has been going on for.

“Apart from damage to the council’s own house, the damage underground means all the sewage in the street regularly backs up into my toilet. You can imagine the smell.

“It’s happened several times now, but nobody seems to take responsibility for it.”

Engineers who patched up the cracks in September recommended that the tree is chemically poisoned, and the roots removed to stop the problem recurring.

So far it remains in place and no action has been taken.

An email sent to Mr Carter yesterday from NPH said they have now closed the matter because the tree is not on their land.

The email said: “I would advise again that the decision on the tree is by NCC, who have already confirmed to our Leaseholders staff that the tree will not be removed unless there are grounds which require its removal. They have the report, and they will make their own decision.”

Mr Carter said: “It’s crazy that a local authority doesn’t think subsidence of a council house and a broken sewer is grounds to remove a tree.”