Fears over ‘unsafe’ trees close to homes

Concerns: Tom Berry, left, with Coun Ralph Snape
Concerns: Tom Berry, left, with Coun Ralph Snape
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Urgent action has been demanded to make a group of large trees safe before someone is seriously injured.

The 30ft tall willows are on grass verges close to homes on Belvedere Drive, off Southport Road, in Chorley.

Residents say they fear for the safety of their properties and passers-by during strong winds.

Retired fireman Tom Berry, who lives on the corner of Belvedere Drive and Southport Road, said: “The council, whichever one wants to take the responsibility, is playing the odds game. On three occasions they’ve had three very lucky escapes.

“One of the limbs from a tree, and it was a substantial limb, came down at approximately 2.50pm.

“Thirty minutes later it would have been throwing out time for the school and it came right across the junction. Luckily, there was nothing coming in or coming out.”

He said on another occasion a large branch crashed down on the road one Sunday afternoon. Fortunately again, there were no people or cars there at the time.

He added: “The problem is they are willows and are very shallow rooted.”

Mr Berry, 56, said the problem had been an ongoing one for about eight years.

He said three trees had fallen down and two were taken down because they were unsafe.

He said: “I’ve never advocated chopping them down, I just said manage them.”

Ward councillor Ralph Snape said: “Both the council and county council can’t sort out who owns the land.

“If there’s anybody in the area who was employed by the council who has any knowledge of this, please come forward.

Coun Adrian Lowe, who oversees the street scene for Chorley Council, said: “Trees on the highway are usually the responsibility of Lancashire County Council.

“However we understand these trees are on land that’s unregistered and doesn’t belong to anyone, so we’re discussing with the county council the best way forward.”