The Wokingham Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By JESSWARREN jwar­ren@wok­ing­ham­pa­per.co.uk

TREE BRANCHES reach­ing 16ft in size are crash­ing into back gar­dens in Lower Ear­ley.

Ash­fia Ali, who lives on Maiden Place be­lieves the trees are now “an im­mi­nent dan­ger to pub­lic health” as the branches con­tinue to fall “a fre­quency of three per week”.

Ms Ali said the prob­lem, which started in 2017, hasn’t been re­solved by the London-based landowner, Es­tates & Man­age­ment Ltd.

She said: “The landown­ers are not tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for main­tain­ing the trees where loose branches are fall­ing into ad­ja­cent land, in­clud­ing on my back gar­den — inches away from my daugh­ters play area — and pub­lic path­way.”

The largest branch cracked and fell into Ms Ali’s gar­den last­month, when she was on a walk with her daugh­ter, Han­nah.

She added: “I have re­peat­edly emailed the es­tate man­age­ment team to take re­spon­si­bil­ity and have even paid £800 a cou­ple of years ago to re­move the branches from my airspace due to lack of co­op­er­a­tion

“There are lots of weak branches with sharp an­gu­lar edges that may cause a fa­tal­ity if im­me­di­ate ac­tion is not taken.”

Last week, Wok­ing­ham bor­ough coun­cil sent one of their team to look at the prob­lem.

Ms Ali said she was wor­ried noth­ing would be done, as the coun­cil had told her they “do not get in­volved with trees that are in pri­vate land”.

A spokesper­son for Wok­ing­ham Bor­ough Coun­cil, said: “We were con­tacted about some branches that had fallen on a foot­path in Lower Ear­ley. Of­fi­cers vis­ited the site and agreed to meet with lo­cal res­i­dents to dis­cuss the is­sue.

“The trees were in­spected and found to be safe. We have con­tacted the landowner to re­mind them of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and ad­vised they may want to have the trees cut back to al­le­vi­ate res­i­dents’ con­cerns.”

A spokesper­son for Es­tates & Man­age­ment said: “E&M, as the agent for the land­lord at Can­nock Way, has re­spon­si­bil­ity for some of the com­mon parts with FirstPort, the ap­pointed prop­erty man­ager, re­spon­si­ble for the day to day main­te­nance.

“Hav­ing been in­formed about the is­sue of fall­ing branches and po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous trees, we in­structed FirstPort to at­tend the site and ad­vise on the ex­act lo­ca­tion of the trees to de­ter­mine whose re­spon­si­bil­ity they are.

“Un­der the terms of the lease, the main­te­nance re­spon­si­bil­ity for this tree at the de­vel­op­ment is demised to a lease­holder.

“FirstPort has writ­ten to the lease­holder re­mind­ing them of their obli­ga­tions un­der the lease and re­quest­ing that they make the tree safe. Should the lease­holder fail to com­ply, we will take fur­ther ac­tion.

“We are grate­ful to Ms Ali for rais­ing this is­sue with us di­rectly and we have kept in reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion with her as we progress this mat­ter.”

Pic­ture: Ash­fia Ali

Han­nah Ali was sur­prised to find a tree branch had crashed down by her swing set, after she re­turned from a walk.

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