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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Owners speak out in Cockermouth trees row

A Cockermouth couple who own some of the trees overhanging Towers Lane are baffled as to why none of the upset residents approached them about the problems they were encountering.

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SURPRISED: Sarah Samuels, who owns the controversial trees overhanging Towers Lane in Cockermouth, is baffled as to why no one had contacted her about them

Paul and Sarah Samuels live in The Towers, a large house divided into four, off Lorton Road.

They said this week they had no idea that some of their trees overhanging Towers Lane were causing so much upset – until they read about it in the Times & Star last week.

Residents claimed that cars had been damaged, TV reception affected and they lived in fear during high winds because of the 40ft trees.

Twenty-three people signed a petition, pleading for Allerdale council, Cockermouth Town Council and Cumbria Highways to help.

The woodland, which is owned by various people, is covered by a tree preservation order.

The order was put in place in 1995 following a petition from Towers Lane residents against a possible housing development.

Paul and Sarah, who have two sons, moved to The Towers 18 months ago.

Sarah, 44, who lived on Towers Lane as a child, said: “For mortgage purposes we had an arborist check all the trees we owned. He said they were all structurally sound.”

Paul, 42, who owns a printing company, said: “We knew nothing about the problems until we picked up the newspaper last week and found we were making everyone’s lives a misery.

“We were not aware of branches coming down in the past, and we were quite shocked.

“I would like to start a dialogue with the neighbours who seem to have been living in fear of knocking on my door.

“I can understand their concerns when it’s a safety issue. I’ve got young kids, and the last thing I want is to see a tree fall on someone.”

The couple said their neighbours in The Towers were equally surprised to hear about the petition.

The preservation order means the couple cannot touch the trees without council consent.

“We are waiting for the council to come and make their assessment,” said Paul.

If the council deem the trees unsafe they are keen to rectify the situation.

Officers from Allerdale council visited Towers Lane last Friday.

A council spokesman said: “The trees were all found to be in good condition. Some tree canopies were found to overhang the road but this situation is being separately assessed by Cumbria County Council.

“The trees in question are all on private land and are subject to tree preservation orders.

“Should Cumbria County Council decide that the trees are encroaching the highway, they will serve notice on the land owner to address this.”

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