Halesowen resident in eight-year fight to get trees felled

by | Apr 23, 2015 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

A keen gardener is appealing for action after eight years of battling to get 50ft tall trees chopped down on school grounds which are “ruining” his and his neighbours’ gardens.

Pensioner Harry Smith said sycamore trees were planted by Dudley Council just inches from the boundary of gardens in Greenhill Road in the early 80s without any consultation.

One fell down and one was cut down after the threat of legal action when its roots lifted a garden fence, but six remain, plunging gardens into almost constant shade.

Mr Smith, aged 72, said: “The trees should never have been planted there and they are so close together that the branches are intertwined and are overhanging gardens by some 10 to 12 feet. They are ruining the gardens.”

He and other residents have the constant menace of seedlings growing in the gardens and Mr Smith’s daughter, who lives a few doors away, has a “small coppice” of sycamores growing at the other side of her garden fence.

The land was formerly the site of the Hill and Cakemore Secondary Modern School, but is now used by Leasowes High School as an Alternative Learning Campus, known as the Greenhill Centre.

Leasowes headteacher Neil Shaw said: “We are in the process of consulting with other affected parties because it was initially unclear whether or not all residents were in favour of the removal of the trees objected to by Mr Smith.

“When we understand the feelings of all interested parties we will carry out the work with the support of Dudley council.” But Mr Smith said previous meetings with a senior member of staff at the Greenhill Centre had established that all affected residents wanted the trees removed and one “was not bothered”.

He believes the trees are the council’s responsibility but said the school had agreed to fell them in 2008, although no funds were available to carry out the work.

Mr Smith said he had been told half would be removed in 2013/14 and the rest in this financial year.

“We are still waiting. I hope they will now finally act, but I’m not holding my breath,” he added.