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Dangerous tree - Sycamore behind 43 Audley Grove

Reported via desktop in the Trees and woodland category by John Mitchell at 20:54, Tuesday 28 June 2022

Sent to Bath and North East Somerset Council less than a minute later. Council ref: 3631712.

On Sunday a substantial branch failed and came crashing down from the sycamore tree located in Locksbrook Cemetery that overhangs our garden at 43 Audley Grove. The branch has a circumference of 50cm at the break, a length of appox 10m and narrowly missed hitting our garden and has partially landed in our neighbours. We have previously reported this tree in 2018 (to Jane B & Denise H) following a spate of near misses with large branches falling into our garden narrowly missing us. Work was undertaken to allegedly make the tree safe, but it has continued regularly dropping small branches during winter storms. The failure this weekend is substantially larger than those previous, and occurred during the day during relatively calm wind conditions - and again while we were working in the garden. The tree is clearly inherently unsafe given the number of near misses we have had over the past 4 years and is coming to the end of its life - it needs to be removed alongside the adjacent dead horsechestnut that is already scheduled. Also, please note that should the council decide to retain the tree then we will take this as an automatic acceptance of full liability should any death/injury or damage to property occur in the future as a result of further branch failures, and we will instruct solicitors accordingly. This tree has now had numerous dangerous near-misses over a span of 4 (almost 5) years, all while you have allegedly been conducting annual/bi-annual safety inspections. These are evidently not worth the paper they are written on, and enough is enough - the tree is dangerous and needs to come down.

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  • Thank you for reporting this issue. Please be assured that we take public safety, and the safety of private property extremely seriously. Indeed this is our primary concern when managing our trees. We do conduct regular inspections of all the trees in Locksbrook cemetery, especially those which are near to roads and private residences. The Sycamore has been inspected in 2018, 2019 and 2021. To effectively allocate scarce resources, we recommend works only where necessary to control risk. This tree has been pruned to reduce the weight of branches near neighbouring property. We do not automatically fell all trees which have previously shed branches, or all trees near domestic properties. Unfortunately, trees are natural organisms and will sometimes fail in ways which cannot be anticipated. We are very sorry for any anxiety caused, and will revisit the tree today to make an assessment. The council obviously acknowledges its legal responsibilities.

    Posted by Bath and North East Somerset Council at 10:00, Wednesday 29 June 2022

  • We've looked into this report and are dealing with the issue. We'll update this report once we've completed the work.

    State changed to: In progress

    Posted by Bath and North East Somerset Council at 14:36, Wednesday 29 June 2022

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