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Couple ‘living in fear’ of council-owned trees towering over their home

PUBLISHED: 14:29 22 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:51 22 May 2018

Patrick and Barbara Whiley at the back of their house in Bowthorpe, where they are worried that the tall sycamore trees may come down on their house. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Patrick and Barbara Whiley at the back of their house in Bowthorpe, where they are worried that the tall sycamore trees may come down on their house. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A couple fear two “80ft” council-owned trees are at risk of coming crashing down onto their Bowthorpe Home.

Patrick and Barbara Whiley at their house in Bowthorpe, right with the conservatory, where they are worried about slipping over on the amount of crabapples from the tree, left, in front of their neighbours home. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPatrick and Barbara Whiley at their house in Bowthorpe, right with the conservatory, where they are worried about slipping over on the amount of crabapples from the tree, left, in front of their neighbours home. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Patrick Whiley and his wife Barbara believe the trees planted behind their property could be blown over in a storm.

Mr Whiley said he sleeps downstairs during high winds in case they come through his roof.

The couple, who live on Swafield Street, are now calling for Norwich City Council to reduce the trees’ height.

“My main concern is they look as though they could come crashing down at any time during a storm,” Mr Whiley said.

Patrick and Barbara Whiley at the back of their house in Bowthorpe, where they are worried that the tall sycamore trees may come down on their house. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPatrick and Barbara Whiley at the back of their house in Bowthorpe, where they are worried that the tall sycamore trees may come down on their house. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“When the wind is blowing I don’t sleep in the bedroom, I go downstairs because the trees sway so much.

“My wife and I are living in fear in our own house.”

Despite their concerns they have been told by Norwich City Council that the trees are safe.

The 77-year-old said the trees were planted after he moved into his house around 30 years ago.

He claims the council later told him that they made a mistake as the wrong types of tree were placed there.

“I was told they should have put ornamental trees in, which don’t grow very high.

“At the time I though they would be nice as they only grow to be around 10ft tall.

“But unfortunately they planted these forest trees, and they have just kept going straight up.”

Mr Whiley, who requires walking sticks to get around, said he was also facing problems with a crab apple tree at the front of his property.

He said he has suffered a “couple” of falls due to the apples on the ground.

“My wife shares my concerns [about the large trees], but she says ‘if it comes down, it comes down, if it don’t, it don’t,” he said.

“Although she does say if it does come down, she doesn’t want to be under it.”

Mr Whiley, who has previously served in the Royal Navy and Territorial Army, said he felt as though Norwich City Council did “not care” about his concerns.

He added: “They didn’t say a lot, other than you will have to live with it.”

A city council spokesman said the trees were inspected and found to pose “no danger of falling down”.

The spokesman said the trees can only be cut back if they overhang onto someone’s property and council permission is obtained.


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