Trees are damaging our homes and we live in darkness, say Kingswood residents

A 160-name petition to South Gloucestershire Council highlights the damage that neglected trees are causing to homes in the Woodstock area of Kingswood.

Cllr Alison Evans handed in the petition – signed by residents from Bredon Close, Courtney Road, Brake Close, Langford Way and Somerton Way – to this week’s full council meeting and two residents spoke on behalf of those affected.

The petition says: “We wish to inform the council of the poor state of maintenance of the trees in the Woodstock area. We would be grateful if a member of the maintenance team could meet with some of the residents so we can walk the area and understand the reasons why the trees have become so large and in places touching houses and covering street lights.

“We would also like to know if the council’s insurance would be valid if properties were damaged by the trees.”

One of the residents, Jan, said: “Some of us have lived on this estate since it was first built. It was lovely with the trees round. They were well looked after and pruned back when they had grown too big for the places they were planted. Now it’s like we live in the middle of a forest. The trees have been left to grow over years of neglect. Some of us live in darkness, no sunlight in our homes, and needing light and heating on a lot of the time.

“The damage some of these trees have done and are continuing to do is immense, breaking up patios and paths, blocking drains and causing subsidence. Telling us to go to our insurance companies is not right or fair. We didn’t plant these trees. We didn’t neglect these trees, so why should we be responsible for them.”

Another resident, Vijay, told the meeting he had lived in his home for 25 years and had watched a very beautiful tree become a “nightmare”.

He said that when he had contacted the council and mentioned cracking in his property and foundation damage, he was told to contact his insurance company.

He said the tree is only 6ft away from his property: “The branches hit our roof sometimes. I’ve cut away a few myself but I’m getting to the age where I can’t risk getting up a ladder.”

He said he was finding it hard to come home from work every day and for safety reasons having to clear the garden of leaves.

The petition was referred to the council’s executive member responsible for communities and local place, Cllr Leigh Ingham.

Our pictures show some of the trees that are close to or touching properties in the streets affected.

The Week In has asked the council if it wishes to comment on the concerns raised.