We warned council this would happen!

0212070 SSHC milnathort tree 'Damage to roof where a tree fell in the recent high winds onto Mary Cunningham's home in Church Street, Milnathort
0212070 SSHC milnathort tree 'Damage to roof where a tree fell in the recent high winds onto Mary Cunningham's home in Church Street, Milnathort

A MILNATHORT woman whose house was badly damaged by a tree blown over in last week’s gales is considering taking action against her local council whom she had repeatedly asked to cut the tree down.

Mary Cunningham of Church Street has been involved in a long-running battle with Perth and Kinross Council to have the double-trunked tree removed from Donaldson Park next to her property.

Mrs Cunningham, who was at home when the tree came crashing down on January 3, said she had long feared it would happen.

“Fortunately we weren’t injured, but when I heard the crash I knew what had happened,” she said.

“We have been trying since the storms last May to get the council to cut it down, but they refused.

“It has caused extensive damage to our property and also to our car as one of the branches went through the back window.

“We are in the process of counting the cost and seeing where we go with taking action against the council.

“The whole experience has just been horrible. We are lucky we have still been able to live in the house, but it’s a mess and the car is still in the garage being repaired.”

Mrs Cunningham went on: “One half of the tree came down, but the other half is still there.

“I am very worried that if we have any more bad weather it will come down too.”

After the council told her the tree was safe, Mrs Cunningham said she and her husband Douglas consulted an independent tree surgeon who said it was dangerous and should be removed.

That report, she said, prompted the council to look at the tree again and decided removal was an option. It was due to look at the issue again in April.

She said: “It’s ironic that for the sake of the few hundred pounds it may have cost to cut it down, the damage it has caused now runs into thousands.”

Mrs Cunningham said Milnathort Community Council and local Perth and Kinross councillor Willie Robertson had been very supportive of her efforts to get the tree cut down.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The very high winds on January 3 led to half of the tree in question falling on the Cunninghams’ property.

“Unfortunately the branches at the top of the tree came into contact with the house and the council took steps to get these branches removed immediately and remove the rest of the debris shortly thereafter.

“The tree concerned was last examined by council staff on November 29, 2011, and was found to be in satisfactory condition at that time with no need for work to be carried out.

“We will always respond to requests for inspections of trees and take action where it is required.

“The council has had to deal with an unprecedented year of exceptionally high winds which have damaged trees considered to be in perfectly healthy condition.

“Whilst it is regrettable that damage can occur on occasion as a result, there is no way of predicting specifically which healthy trees are likely to come down.”

“The option to remove the tree has not been discounted, and we will be arranging for the remaining part of it to be felled, as previously discussed with the homeowners.”