Compensation claim against council after trees damage Peterborough properties

Rohan Wilson and Cllr Nick Sandford next to some of the felled trees. EMN-180507-153130009
Rohan Wilson and Cllr Nick Sandford next to some of the felled trees. EMN-180507-153130009
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Damage caused by trees to two properties in Bretton could cost Peterborough City Council.

The authority has received claims for compensation from the owners of the properties but has declined to say how much it may have to pay out.

The damage caused by the mature, large trees has led to a decision to cut down all trees in Benland within 15m of the affected properties, and some within 20m, adding up to 22 in total.

However, leader of the council’s Lib Dem group Cllr Nick Sandford called the response “excessive” and said the woodland, which is at least 200 years old, had been “effectively destroyed.” His concerns were echoed by Woodland Trust campaigner Oliver Newham who described the tree felling as “troubling.”

He added: “If we took this precautionary approach we’d see all street trees removed and parks cleared of trees.”

The damage was caused by the roots of the trees sucking up the moisture from the soil which caused the properties to sink, leading to cracks appearing. A council spokesman said the authority had a legal duty to prevent the trees causing further damage and that their removal followed consultation with an independent structural engineer.

He added: “It is our intention to replant the area this coming winter, with consideration of the neighbouring residential properties. A combination of native shrubs and small trees will be used to generate a new woodland edge with a diversity of habitats.”

Benland resident Rohan Wilson said he was concerned that with no trees rain might expand the soil and lift up the properties, which would cause even worse damage. Amey, which carried out the tree removals for the council, said it had felled 22 trees.