I warned of dan­ger­ous trees, says fu­ri­ous dad

Preg­nant wife flees as home struck at 3am

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Roof Crash Terror - By Suz Elvey

selvey@thek­m­group.co.uk A 100ft tree crashed through the roof of a fam­ily home where a preg­nant mother and her twoyear-old daugh­ter lay sleep­ing – de­spite coun­cil prom­ises to cut the po­plar down.

Fa­ther Dean Met­calfe, 31, his 28-year-old wife Sa­man­tha, who is seven months preg­nant, and their daugh­ter Scar­lett were forced to aban­don their house in Nine Acres, Ken­ning­ton, at 2.45am on Christ­mas Eve and spent Christ­mas Day with rel­a­tives.

Scream­ing

Mr Met­calfe has now ac­cused Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil of ne­glect­ing pub­lic safety for not chop­ping down the large row of trees at the bot­tom of his gar­den.

The 100ft po­plar tree fell into his house, smash­ing the roof above his daugh­ter’s bed­room.

He said: “My heav­ily preg­nant wife woke up scream­ing.

“We had to evac­u­ate the house due to the dam­age and risk of other trees fall­ing onto the prop­erty.

‘The coun­cil turned their backs on us and left us in a very dan­ger­ous po­si­tion’

The view from the gar­den and, inset, in­side the house, af­ter the 100ft po­plar tree crashed down

“Leav­ing the house at 3am in th­ese con­di­tions with a pet­ri­fied two-year-old and a preg­nant wife was stress­ful in it­self.

“My daugh­ter kept talk­ing about how the naughty wind had blown the tree onto our house.

“My wife is re­ally strug­gling to sleep fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent and in her con­di­tion this is not good.

“There is a large hole in the roof which we have had to ‘make good’ and wa­ter­proof and luck­ily we know a roofer, who did us a good turn and came out on Christ­mas Eve.

“This cost us £500 and we are still with­out ap­prox­i­mately 100 tiles due to roofers’ yards be­ing closed over the Christ­mas pe­riod.

Flood­ing

“We re­alise there are a lot of peo­ple who had a worse ex­pe­ri­ence than us be­cause of flood­ing and our Christ­mas wasn’t ru­ined thanks to fam­ily and friends.”

Mr Met­calfe, who owns his home, said about six weeks ago an 80ft tree from the group fell to­wards their homes and was only pre­vented from hit­ting his neigh­bour’s house by a large fir tree in their gar­den.

He and neigh­bours have been ask­ing for the row of seven trees, which stand in an al­lot­ment about 3ft from their gar­den fences, to be re­moved for some time.

They were fi­nally told a few weeks ago the trees would be re­moved but not im­me­di­ately.

He con­tin­ued: “The coun­cil com­pletely turned their backs on us and left us in a very dan­ger­ous po­si­tion.

Ter­ri­ble

“I ap­pre­ci­ate that a num­ber of trees would have fallen in var­i­ous ar­eas of the bor­ough which they would need to at­tend to but to leave it this long is ter­ri­ble.

“This whole sit­u­a­tion would have been avoided if the coun- cil had re­moved the trees when we asked the first time or when they agreed that the trees posed dan­ger to us.”

As well as the dam­age to the roof the tree ripped gut­ter­ing away from the house, dam­aged win­dows and doors, de­stroyed gar­den fur­ni­ture and broke an out­side tap, which led to the gar­den be­ing flooded.

No one from Ash­ford coun­cil was avail­able for com­ment as we went to press.

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