Tree collapse could have been ‘quite catastrophic’

The collapsed tree.
The collapsed tree.

Safety concerns have been raised after a large tree collapsed into a footpath and gardens – but there is a dispute about who is responsible.

Worried resident Amanda Ford contacted the Gazette on Sunday morning, following the incident along the stretch behind homes at Whitton View, Rothbury.

She has said that there are numerous branches from ‘extra-large trees’ overhanging the well-used path and residential gardens and fears that a similar incident could happen in the future.

She said: “On Sunday, at 11am, on a sunny day with 15 mile-an-hour winds, a huge part of one of the large trees behind my house sheared off and fell straight down onto the path and over fences/gates and into three gardens of the properties on Whitton View – including mine.

“The path was completely blocked and had there been any pedestrians or residents on the path or in the gardens this could have potentially been quite catastrophic.

“I fear now that when autumn approaches, the higher winds will exacerbate another incident.”

However, her concerns have led to a dispute about who is responsible for the trees.

She told the Gazette that in January she had mentioned her concerns about ‘the extent of the extra-large trees and the fact that many huge branches were overhanging the path and gardens’ to Rothbury county councillor Steven Bridgett.

She said that he advised her that there might be tree preservation orders on the trees and the council may have already tried to influence the landowner to do something about them, adding that he would look into it further. Amanda says she never heard anything further.

However, on Tuesday, Coun Bridgett said that he had raised the issues with Northumberland Estates, telling the Gazette that the company was responsible.

A spokesman for the Estates said that it had received an email about the collapsed tree, but had asked for more details. Then yesterday, the Estates said that the trees are thought to be the responsibility of Armstrong Estate/Bernicia Homes.

However, a spokesman for Savills said that its client, the Armstrong Estate, does not own the land in question.

The Gazette has not yet heard back from Bernicia.