Leytonstone man slams Waltham Forest Council as large branch from ‘dangerous’ tree falls into garden

A Leytonstone man who says he warned the council for years about a “dangerous” tree near his home wants compensation after an enormous branch destroyed his garden.

On August 21, a large tree branch fell into Azmat Khan’s garden on John Drinkwater Road, damaging a marble table, a brick wall, benches and a fence, only ten minutes after children had been playing outside.

In May, the same tree dropped a branch on his car, causing extensive damage.

Mr Khan said he first told Waltham Forest Council the tree seemed unhealthy in 2017 and sent more than 30 emails over the years, to no avail.

Responding today, Cllr Clyde Loakes (Lab, Leytonstone) said the council intended to prune the tree after the first branch dropped but “other urgent works were carried out first”.

He added that Storm Ellen in August had further damaged the tree, which caused the second branch to drop.

Mr Khan said: “I have been asking the council why this has happened. When I emailed they said ‘we are doing something about it’ but nothing was done at all.

“Fortunately no one was harmed. This could have easily killed a family member or, if it toppled over the other way, killed innocent children in Henry Reynolds Park.

“I am no tree expert but even through the naked eye it’s evident that the tree was not in fit condition.”

Mr Khan said he was particularly disappointed in his ward councillor Clyde Loakes, who he said seemed “dismissive” of his concerns.

He added that he expected compensation from the council for the repair work that would have to be done on his garden wall and the gutters on the second floor of his house.

Cllr Loakes said: “We are sorry for any distress and inconvenience caused to residents by this incident.

“The tree lost a branch in May this year, after which it was made safe and inspected fully with some pruning being recommended to reduce the remaining branches in the best interests of the tree.

“This work required road closure permits to be arranged so that it could be carried out safely, and because the inspection showed the tree to be safe other urgent works were carried out first.

“Unfortunately, the unseasonably strong storm Ellen hit on Friday August 21 which caused further damage to the tree and we arranged immediate action at that time.

“Officers have cleared the damage and re-inspected the tree, with pruning of the remaining branches being completed on Wednesday August 26.”

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter