'We just want it pruned so we can watch TV' say Northampton couple sick of monster tree 'not pruned by the council for 40 years'

A couple who were among the first to move into Northampton's Eastern District says trees planted as saplings on their estate more than 40 years ago are now so massive they block out the television signal.

Wednesday, 21st December 2016, 2:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:29 pm
A huge tree by Colin Gordon's house in Southfields has grown so tall - he and wife Anita cannot get a television reception.

Colin Gordon, aged 79, was the subject of a Chronicle & Echo feature in October, when he called for the borough council to improve the maintenance on his estate, originally known as Southfields One.

He and wife Anita were among the first to move there in 1977, when the trees on the estate were freshly-planted saplings.

But this week they are renewing their call to get those trees - now towering at a height of 40ft - cut back.

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Colin Gordon by his house in Moorfield Square, where he has lived for 40 years.

Recently they have gotten so tall, the couple cannot even watch television, because the branches block out their signal when it rains.

Anita, said: "All you get is fuzz, and when it's wet you can't watch anything at all.

The council say it is because there is nothing wrong with the tree and, because there are no broken branches, they won't cut it back.

"But we don't want it cut down, we just want it pruned.

Colin Gordon by his house in Moorfield Square, where he has lived for 40 years.

"It wouldn't take long to just trim that back."

When we interviewed Mr Gordon back in October, the former maintenance man queried how his council tax was being spent when Moorfield Square, where he lives, has never been resurfaced in 40 years.

Now he says his TV Licence fee is going to waste too.

He said: "Surely we've got some rights - surely we can have the TV on in the winter?

"We like to watch out telly, it's our little bit of pleasure."

Colin claims to have called the council several times about the matter, but says he has been told the tree will not be pruned or cut back "because it is healthy."

However, the council's own tree policy states that it will not prune trees to ease reception difficulties.

"A TV licence does not give a holder a guarantee, or legal right to reception," the council guidelines read.

After being contacted by the Chron, the borough council claims to have received no correspondence from Mr Gordon.

However, cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Mike Hallam (Con, Headlands) says he would be willing to look into it.

Councillor Hallam, said: “We can’t find a record of being contacted to discuss this particular issue, but we are happy to arrange for a tree and woodland officer to visit the property to complete a survey.

"We recognise that trees are an issue for people across the borough, which is why we’ve chosen to invest an additional £100,000 in the tree management service.”