Northampton residents face summer of uncertainty after council misses chance to cut down 'monstrous' trees before nesting season

"These residents will have to spend another summer in all sorts of weather wondering if their houses are going to be smashed or having a branch fall on their head."

Sunday, 28th March 2021, 8:00 am
This was the aftermath of one resident's garden in 2018 after one of the 100-ft tall trees came crashing to earth.

A Northampton neighbourhood says the council has not followed through on a promise to fell a line of 'monstrous' 100-ft tall trees they say could potentially crush their homes.

The residents of Crabb Tree Drive in Southfields celebrated in October when the borough council agreed to cut down the towering line of black ash trees surrounding their cul-de-sac.

It came after two years of appealing following a near miss in 2018 when one of the trees came crashing to earth and narrowly avoided two houses.

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The trees in this picture (taken October 2020) have been left standing despite a promise by the council to cut them down before March.

Now however, the neighbours are afraid they are facing another four months of uncertainty.

In the five months since the promise in October, only three of the 13 looming trees have been felled - and now that nesting season has started, that will have to be all until August.

Councillor Janice Dufff [Talavera, Lab.], who worked with the Southfields Residents' Association to ask for the trees to be cut down, said: "These residents will have to spend another summer in all sorts of weather wondering if their houses are going to be smashed or having a branch fall on their head.

"The council could have cut down all the trees before nesting season and put the issue to bed.

"What worries me is if this is an issue that will be forgotten about in the move over to the unitary council and when Councillor Mike Hallam steps down as cabinet member for environment.

"There was a breath of relief when this was promised and now it hasn't happened. It's appalling."

In October 2020, residents Roger and Hilary Farmer told the Chronicle & Echo how the danger became apparent two years ago when one of the trees collapsed and only narrowly missed their home.

Roger, who worked in horticulture for 20 years, said: "If I had been outside I wouldn't be here.

"They are the wrong tree to have this close to properties. Everyday since we've all been checking the weather to see which way the wind blows. We don't go out when it's windy, even because of falling branches."

"We can't well even let one any children play in the garden in case something happens."

The borough council has been contacted for a comment.