Cllr David Nettleton tells Suffolk County Council to cut back overhanging trees in Bury St Edmunds
The plight of an elderly man living in a permanently dark house has inspired a councillor to campaign for better tree maintenance.
Cllr David Nettleton, a member of the town, borough and county councils, has taken up the case of a Raynham Road resident who has to keep his front room lights on all year round because of overhanging street trees.
“The trees are detrimental to his living,” said Cllr Nettleton of the resident – who did not wish to be named.
“But sadly this is not an isolated incident and Norfolk Road, for example, is a disgrace.
“Since Suffolk County Council took back control of highways from the borough council in 2011, the health of street trees has been neglected.”
Independent Cllr Nettleton, who represents Risbygate locally and Tower ward at county level, said he knows of ‘10 to 20’ examples of residents suffering because of overhanging trees. It is under County Hall’s remit to manage trees that are next to roads.
Cllr Nettleton has called for the county council to review its approach to managing trees, which he described as ‘cavalier’.
“The borough council inspects all its trees, including those in Forest Heath, once every four years,” he continued.
“The county council doesn’t seem to look at them unless a specific complaint is raised, and even, then, the decision is often that no action is required, despite the fact that homeowners need to keep their lights on during daylight hours.”
A county council spokesman said: “Suffolk Highways undertakes regular inspections to identify overhanging vegetation, hedges and trees. As well as these inspections, we rely on members of the public to report these issues to us.
“We have arranged for a community warden to inspect Raynham Road to see what action is needed. It is our legal duty to ensure that landowners and residents recognise their responsibilities to keep the highway clear.”