A council that plonked a lamppost on the pavement – with its lamp hidden in the middle of a huge horse chestnut tree – is forcing a resident to pay to have the tree cut back.
Chris Wilcox (64), of Surfleet Road, Surfleet, has lived in his home for a little over 11 years, but used to live on the other side of the road and remembers the lamppost being installed some years earlier.
He said: “Nobody in their right mind is going to put a lamppost there because it’s a massive tree. It didn’t used to bother me too much because the council used to come and chop it back at their expense.”
In the last five years, he’s twice paid bills of around £200 for the tree to be lopped. The latest was in September when the council asked him to cut back the tree within 14 days, backed by a warning that the authority would do the job and recover the costs from him if he failed.
Mr Wilcox spoke out after a story in our sister paper, The Lincolnshire Free Press, revealed the county council had partly hidden a new 30mph speed limit warning behind tree branches at Pinchbeck.
He says his horse chestnut is about 40-years-old and the lamppost could have been put on another spot – and he doesn’t believe the council’s explanation that it was the only place they could connect to the electricity supply.
Mr Wilcox doesn’t want to carry on paying bills when it was the council that created the problem.
Council principal engineer Stan Hall said: “The tree in question is on private land and therefore is not the responsibility of the local authority. If a tree is obscuring a light, we send out our street lighting teams to carry out minor pruning but the main responsibility for maintenance belongs to the property owner. When considering cases, we do look at individual circumstances and decide on the best possible action.”