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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, Tue 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, Wed 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, Wed 29 June 2022

  • Hi,

    Have you got the much promised update on this, and when is the officer going to visit the tree to make an assessment?

    I find it most odd that you say you take your responsibilities seriously, given it's been 2 whole months since the report and noone has visited our property - and I'm not just speaking from a common courtesy call, but the simple fact that as the attached photo shows, if you want to view & access the sycamore to inspect it properly (including the failed fallen branch), then you have no choice but to do it from our garden - the out of control undergrowth in the cemetery simply stops you from doing it from anywhere else. So we know you either haven't been, or you haven't taken your responsibilities seriously and done your job properly.

    Posted anonymously at 16:18, Tue 6 September 2022

  • Thank you for contacting us with regard to this issue. We have made a decision to fell the tree which will be undertaken when we are on site dismantling the dead chestnut. The job presents some technical challenges including specialist machinery, so we cannot give you a precise schedule for the works, however we will aim to complete these within the next few weeks.

    Posted by Bath and North East Somerset Council at 14:25, Wed 7 September 2022

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