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Hello,

After some guidance. sorry if drawn out....

 

Our local authority has a sycamore tree on the footpath outside our property. We moved in in 2017 and the damage was apparent to the public highways and footpath that the roots were travelling under the tarmac.

 

In 2019 i decided enough was enough and reported it to the council as a defect (car got damaged). When i was on the page i noticed a large amount of reports for the same issue going back years. The report went in but the council decided no further action would be taken and they would "monitor the situation".

 

In feb 2020 the area was marked up by paint and a bit of tarmac was sprinkled in the gaps (no word of a lie absolutely pathetic repair), i went on the site that does the reports and notice that work was due to be scheduled - but all the previous reports were strangely missing.

 

Ive since had to stop using my drive as i cannot access it without causing damage to my car ( its damaged my car twice as the drop kerb is now sticking up at an odd angle) - undertray torn off and seal on car bent)

 

In june my front brick wall then became unstable so we had to call a builder to put the job right. He pointed out that the wall had become unstable because the footings have probally been damaged by the tree roots, he also said he would not be able to correct the work until the problem is corrected by the council (not safe to do so). He then showed me that the damage had also lifted my pressed concrete drive way that wasn't there only a short while back. 

 

I then put the council on notice that we would have to claim pending quotes to recitfie the damage. After having a few people over they all confirmed the worst, the drive wasnt repairable and would need to be replaced because of the damaged caused by the root system. The drive would need to be lifted and any roots removed before it could be repaired - not possible on a solid concrete pad.

 

I submitted a claim and have also contacted my legal cover with the insurance - my insurance has said to let the council investigate before they would take action - fair enough. We also sent of for Freedom of information request. 

 

The letter i got of the council was laughable, it stated that they would take 3 months to even look at the site because of covid - even though i stated to them its in an unsafe condition, they had already marked up the area to be repaired, and they have a history of problems with the tree.  They also pointed out that 90% of claims are rejected as the council couldn't predict there would be a problem - this is the reason why i told my insurance as we have liability problem with our driveway and wanted to be covered in case of an third party accident.

 

The letter they sent also said the quotes we have are too high as its block paved and could be repaired - the claim stated 3 times it was pressed concrete drive.

They said the arbs team would have to admit liabilty but they wouldn't replace the drive because its block .... duh.

 

Then we had the freedom of information finally turn up. It only went back to 2018, none of the previous reports from the old owner that were so clearly seen when i first reported the problem, this has been asked for in a follow up.

 

I feel like the local authority is trying to fob us off, we didnt cause the damage and i think it is highly unfair that they are causing us great expense and inconvenience though no fault of our own. I feel that if they had acted on  our report back in 2019 or thier own walk around check in 2018 i wouldn't be looking at replacing my driveway.

 

They have had problems before as the rest of the street has stone pavers but infront of our house is tarmac - i suspect they laid tarmac because the tree lifted the original pavers

 

Has anyone else have any ideas how to get them to take this seriously, i told council they had got it wrong about the drive being block but not heard since. Pretty sure im being ignored now.

 

Attached is the front - our drive has lifted more since that photo was taken. The car on the drive is the only one i can now get on there safely.

Many thanks..

IMG_20200618_203824_compressed.pdf IMG_20200621_173526_compressed.pdf

Edited by slick132
Spacing added to separate paragraphs making post easier to read.
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Hi ABM,

 

I've added better spacing to your post to make it easier to read. 

 

Keep it easier to read and more folk are likely to respond. 😎

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the tree was never planted deep enough in the 1st place.

thats the real issue here.

 

and you can't just cut the roots away either

that will make it unstable.

 

is there a preservation order on the trees?

 

do you know when they were planted?

i'd guess many many moons ago but their growth looks stunted to me if they are 1970/80's or before even 1950's

 

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Hi thanks for the replies. 

 

There is no order on the tree as far as I'm aware, there are other trees on the road that haven't caused any problems so you are probably correct with it not being planted deep enough soil is too shallow. 

 

I don't know when it was planted, but again assume your correct. The house was built in the 20s or 30s so it could easily be that age. 

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ok well you personally complaining about damage to your property or to the 'inconvenience/damage' (take that the right way please) to your car and your use of it...quite honestly won't get you anywhere sadly.

 

however the really big stick is the pavement and health and safety, that they cannot ignore.....

ultimately that will result in the trees removal, there is no other way around it.

 

so once that gets on the cards, your issues will also be resolved as they won't be able to ignore the tree which damaged the pavement, to the extent whereby it is very unsafe for disabled/poor of sight, wheelchairs, prams, mobility vehicles....damaged your property too and make good.

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Just had a full freedom of information request delivered.

 

Shocking, reports going back to 2006 over damaged caused by tree roots at front of our property. Would this count as "Foreseeability" that the council will only admit liability if this is confirmed?. 

 

In the council reports they say tree root damage, then "action required" then no follow ups (2015), then the annual inspection in 2017 it shows damage again with "no action required"..... the damage is still apparent today.

 

I'm not claiming for car damage, there really is no point now. But the damage it has caused to the driveway i want sorted. like you can see it is dangerous.

 

We have a special needs school at the end of the road and the parents often park along our road  - i don't need to say more.

 

Thanks

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I would get a quote for the cost of redoing the drive, with and without the cost of removing the offending roots and also let them know the cost of repairing the car damage and invite them to pay, .It is not too late.

 

you will have buildings insurance so if they aren't in a hurry to admit liability ( they cant deny it as they are damned by their own reports) the you use your insurer to bite their legs.

 

in the meanwhile get some elderly people to trip over the damaged pavement in front of the local press/regional TV news

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Hiya,

 

Ive already had quotes and they are shocking.

No one will touch it until the council has sorted the problem, driveway has to be changed.

 

Ive just exposed the roots on our property thats causing some of the damage, but looking further at our drive now we have a massive new crack that has gone to our house (wasnt there only a few months back).

 

Our builder has said he will come over with a digger to expose more but i think i have enough evidence now.

I would rather not contact local press but MP might be a good option, i think he lives in our street. 

 

 

 

IMG_20200727_153928.pdf

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mp should work nicely.

 

esp as its in his street too.

h+s issue he has obv been ignoring for years!!

 

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please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Share on other sites

I used to work as a tree officer for a local Authority, I now work as an insurance officer at a different local Authority. 

 

Firstly the issue with the tree tree is not that it wasn’t planted deep enough, trees are planted as little saplings and pretty much all have a similar size root ball at that time and will be planted to the same sort of depth, as they grow the root system forms and usually different types of tree will have a different root formation,

 

certain types of tree are known for having surface roots that will crack pathways etc, cherry trees are quite bad for this.

The roots are not at the surface because of how they were planted, but just because of how the roots have formed, nobody planted a mature tree and placed each root too close to the surface. 

 

Secondly on the tree, you have a right to cut back anything that is encroaching onto your land, this includes roots, however you need to be cautious about causing damage to the tree or effecting it’s stability as you could become liable for damage caused, if you cut back the roots I would advise that you alert the council to what you are doing.

 

If the tree is removed, it is unlikely that the council will dig up and remove every tree root especially those growing on private land. The tree might be deemed too important to the area to warrant removal or may even be protected (you will need to check this before cutting any roots as you will deed to apply for permission to do any works on a protected tree).

 

in regards to the claim for the damage to your driveway, there is no automatic right to compensation and if they do agree to pay, they might only offer a partial payment. You need to prove all the damage that you are claiming and you cannot be in a position of betterment (if your driveway would have had an expected lifespan of 30 years and is 20 years old, then by having a new one now would mean you benefit from a further 20 years use etc).

 

Also you say you moved into the property in 2017 so it is possible the damage was already present at that time, although may have worsened. If you purchased the property in a damaged state then you need to evidence that you have suffered a loss, especially as you are saying that the driveway cannot just be repaired as it’s printed concrete and it needs replacing in full,

 

basically a small amount of damage would require the same cost of repair as a lot of damage and it could be argued that you have no claim as you will not have suffered any additional financial loss. If the previous owner had been reporting damage to the property, this will not help your claim as it will show that you purchased it already damaged. If you say that the damage was not there when you purchased the property, you will need to provide evidence of that.

 

asking the MP to look into things might not help. The council will most likely pay claims like this from public money and they have a duty to protect those funds. They cannot pay claims because an MP gets involved, it just means a formal explanation will be sent via the MP as well as it instead of to you.

 

If you get a claim paid after contacting an MP it would usually mean that the claim would have been paid anyway and the MP involvement had nothing to do with the outcome. The council will need to provide a fair and consistent service to everyone and it would not be fair to favour one person because the MP was involved.

 

i don’t know what council you are dealing with and I imagine that different councils will have different approaches where some will be quite firm and others more relaxed, but it is a bit of a complicated issue as it isn’t a simple case if there being damage and so you get paid for a new driveway.

 

Also whatever you do, do not be silly and pay for repairs with cash, make sure you can provide proof like a bank statement showing you have paid for the work or your claim is going to look suspicious.

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Hello, thanks for the frank and honest post.

 

We have had an update, on weds evening a van turned up and put cones outside our house, then in the morning a tree local services truck turned up to evaluate the site. The guy that turned up the evening before had requested the arb team to check the site.

 

The arborist told me that the council won't remove any healthy tree so it would most likely remain he would let me know when he has spoken to the highways team.

About 30 mins later he changed his tune, the highways guys said the job couldn't be done without the tree being removed - the roots had gone under the kerbstones and lifted them as well as our driveway. The tree had to go.

 

The tree was duly removed then the poor workers spend all day thurs and friday removing the huge root.  The root was over a foot in diameter 4 meters away from the trunk.

 

We now have the kerbs reinstated and waiting for tarmac to be done on monday, so really good news now and things are moving on.

 

Regarding our claim. 

 

We moved in in 2017, at the time as shown on our full structure survey only minor settlement cracks on the other side of the drive were there, there was no other damage.  The drive was stated as in good state of repair and i would have expected many many more years of use out of it.

If there had been a problem with the drive i would have knocked the estimated value of the price of purchase.

 

All the reports up until we put our claim in were for footpath and kerbstone damage - this is clear in the freedom of information pack I have.

 

The damage to the highway was the problem that i've complained about and previous owners and third parties have also complained about. The damage on our drive is a new feature - if you can call it that. I can prove that its new through our survey and google maps.

 

We never spoke to the MP in the end, I sent an email expressing my worry about the state of the footpath and the serious safety issues that are out there. They had already said 3 months before it would be viewed so something prompted their action - maybe the freedom of information request that i forwarded to the claim officer showed i was serious - who knows.

 

Thanks people, i'm just pleased that no one is going to now get hurt when the job is completed. My claim is more a long term thing but i can wait now as the damage is done but it wont now get any worse.

 

thanks

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told ya!

 

i can't say i know why ....yet....but i know of a seriously costly home repair that cost a certain council almost £1M in court recently.had they acted 2yrs ago, it would have been a few £1000 only.. and as a result a rather scaring warning was issued to all home counties about ignoring such issues.

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please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Hiya,

 

Just a quick update, without going into too much detail.

 

The claim has now gone legal. The council refused any claim stating that there is no tree so there is no claim - UNBELIEVABLE.

 

They removed all trace of the evidence and are hiding behind that.

 

We have had a lump of the drive lifted and the root there is massive, it is very clear that that is the cause of our damage.

 

We had a arborist our insurance company employed visit and has written a report very favorable to our position, we are currently waiting for DNA reports to prove beyond any doubt.

He was quite surprised the council are even arguing looking though the history of the site (Freedom of information) - and how cut and dry the damage has been from the now removed tree.

 

I cannot go into the case much more now but will update when i can be more specific.

 

Something i would like to add though for anyone in the future - the council are snakes, they worm and wriggle their way through the claim.

 

We have had barrage of inane questions which in every case had been answered if they just looked at the case. This is deliberate, right from the get go they say that over 98% of claims fail and they try to run you round in circles and avoid to answer legitimate questions.

 

They even asked us questions on already answered questions at the same time they refused the claim - i just forwarded them to my solicitor.

 

Keep and photograph EVERYTHING and get freedom of information requests in.  

 

Most of all keep calm, follow through until they refuse the claim (which seems to be the norm) then get your solicitor involved. In our case we got our legal cover in place early so we could keep them aware of the situation without having to explain it all in one go.

Our home insurance legal cover has been a god send. 

 

The way they have it set up is they make you question your claim and make you feel like you are in the wrong and just claiming for money even though they have caused the damage. 

 

Just remember that if you cause damage to council property see what they will do......

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