Council officials threaten Hove pensioner over dangerous tree – even though it’s the council’s tree

Council bosses threatened legal action against a couple of pensioners over a tree outside their home – even though the council itself is responsible for the tree.

The elderly Hove couple turned to their MP for help to remove the berry-laden thorny tree from outside their home.

Labour MP Peter Kyle stepped in to help Marcia Hasler, 81, when she asked councillors for action after years of worry about the tree.

It was planted on the pavement outside her home in Chelston Avenue, Hove, seven years ago by Brighton and Hove City Council.

Spacewords Brighton

Mrs Hasler fears that it has become a health and safety hazard. It has thorns 3cm long – more than an inch – on its street-level offshoots and it sheds berries across the road and pavement.

Mrs Hasler is worried that someone will slip on the berries, not least as some have fallen off during recent storms.

She said: “In a few weeks when the berries really start coming off, it’ll be a carpet.

“The whole tree is an issue. We had quite a few berries down in the rain but that’s nothing compared with what’s coming.

“I don’t know how they’re getting away with this as a health and safety issue, with the thorns as well. It just doesn’t make sense. We can’t sweep it up off the pavement.”

Mrs Hasler has heart problems and her husband David has asthma.

She told Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting last week that they were unable to clear the road as well as their front garden themselves.

Mrs Hasler has asked the council’s rubbish, recycling and street cleaning service Cityclean for someone to clear up but street cleaners have come only sporadically.

Marcia Hasler

At the meeting last Tuesday (20 September), she told councillors that they were her last resort – and they heard all about the long and traumatic history of the tree planted by the council outside her home.

On coming home from hospital after a heart operation, Mrs Hasler found a letter from the council threatening legal action if the couple did not cut back the tree within 14 days.

The letter said: “It has been brought to our attention that vegetation that appears to be coming from your property is now growing over the public highway causing problems for pedestrians, especially those with sight impairments or mobility difficulties.

“As the owner or occupier of the property, you are responsible for making sure that any trees, bushes or other vegetation you have do not encroach on to the public highway or cause a nuisance to other road users.”

A photograph with the letter clearly showed the tree planted on the edge of the pavement.

The council later apologised for the letter and admitted that it was responsible for the tree.

The thorns are more than an inch long

After hearing her story, the Hove MP helped Mrs Hasler put her question to councillors.

Mr Kyle said: “This is another example of how we are lacking a common-sense administration at the council.

“Mrs Hasler has met brick wall after brick wall in her attempts to resolve an issue that impacts the pavement, the road and the neighbours.

“I’ve seen the spikes and berries myself. No one would want that outside their home yet no one in the council is trying to rectify the mistake.

“I beg someone inside the administration at the council to take responsibility and help Mrs Hasler.”

Peter Kyle

Green councillor Amy Heley, who co-chairs the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said that she was sorry to hear about the problem and would ask the council’s tree team to get in touch.

The council said: “We are contacting the resident to highlight the issues with any tree that drop berries, seeds, leaves, honey dew, etc, on to footpaths.

“We do not fell healthy street trees as a result of this natural process. If we did remove healthy trees that drop berries, etc, we would have to start a programme of large-scale felling and replacement throughout the city, causing both a huge cost to the council tax payer and extensive environmental damage.

“The tree in question, plus another next to it, were pruned back on Friday (23 September) to remove any spiky growth impeding the footway.

“Any problem with debris on pavements potentially causing a hazard should be reported to our colleagues at Cityclean for action.”

  1. Sd Reply

    Ha! The Council is a joke. Look at the state of the weeds growing in the pavement cracks, too.

    Well done for highlighting this Mrs Masler.

    • Proud Brightonian Reply

      People in Brighton and Hove need to realise that the green party are ruining this city. Only way to fix it is vote then out before they totally kill it

  2. Barry Scott Reply

    Yes the council are full of dumbos, the workers are mostly lazy too, don’t let the council dominant pensioner’s

    • Mr George Reply

      What do you expect from a council that wastes money on duplicate cycle lanes on sea front. Lunatic traffic system on level and Steyne which creates holdups increasing pollution. Also lunatic expansion of Brighton Uni creating an eyesore Canyon on Lewes road and congestion of traffic from Vague Roundabout to Stanmer Park on most days coming into town caused by Brighton Uni Canyon traffic. All the above mentioned give the the impression of having been designed and authorised by people imbibing too much wacky baccy or other recreational chemicals. Where does money go. To fund Pride, trans encouragement among schoolchildren, “diversity’and other lunatic woke, leftist, champagne socialist lunacies.

  3. dean bull Reply

    Have a look at the state the walkway is in, the council don’t seem to care about the tidiness of them, just a mess by anyone’s standards.

  4. Steve Reply

    Think that’s bad, Chatham place (the road from Preston circus to 7 dials)
    4 tree stumps there however they have regrown and the pavement is almost in usable. Any councilors listening to this, it’s outside the rail depot, pretty hard to miss it lol even when trying to

  5. Jason Reply

    I know of a self-seeded tree on council land at the edge of a turning area in Portslade that’s around ten feet tall, giving some indication of how many years this land has been totally ignored by the council.

    Thistles and bindweed from this area invade at least three neighbouring gardens, and ivy is destroying a number of garden fences. Will the council pay for repairs? Of course they won’t.

    I’d like answers to these two questions, but I won’t be holding my breath.

    1) Just how much is the council raking in each year now that Brighton and Hove are combined?

    2) What is all that money being spent on, or is it sitting in the bank while the council does nothing about the progressive destruction of the area?

    Pavements and minor roads are left to break up.

    Police are underfunded (or so we’re told), resulting in ever-increasing crime rates.

    Assets and heritage sites the council is supposed to maintain are left to rot because nobody on the council seems to care about looking after ANYTHING.

    It’s NOT “re-wilding”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. It’s WILFUL NEGLECT.

  6. mart Burt Reply

    Yes well the council at it’s best again.
    I was shown a photocopy of a photograph and a ‘PCN’ that showed a vehicle ‘travelling’ in a bus lane.
    It was 14 feet in height, about 40 feet long and had 70 odd seats inside it.

  7. Ivor Grumble Reply

    Oh wow, a council bullying pensioners and trying to make them pay for what the council should be doing. Imagine my surprise.

  8. Stu Reply

    The council have topped several trees in the road where I live supposedly because they were diseased, they left 2 metre stumps that are now growing back prolifically from the ground up causing wide growth that will soon make the pavements impassible, probably still infested with whatever caused them to be decapitated.
    This council is an inept nightmare.

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