A WORRIED homeowner has hit out at the council’s response after a 30ft tree fell onto the roof of her home.
Janine Russell (64) also told the council after the incident on Wednesday that a neighbouring tree looked set to crash through her Whiston roof — but was angered at the authority’s response.
The trees are behind the biomedical scientist’s privately-owned detached property in a brook that backs onto council allotments.
“I rang the council’s emergency repairs department and Streetpride, it took ages to get through, but they said the trees are on unregistered land so can’t help,” said Ms Russell.
“I even offered to pay half the costs if they could remove the trees.”
After the Advertiser contacted the council about the health and safety issues, Ms Russell said their response improved and she had now met with officers.
Ms Russell, of Meadowcroft Close, said she was awoken at 7am by a loud bang which her son thought was an earthquake.
”It was a really loud sound and then like a sliding sound,” she said.
“When I got up and realised what had happened it was pretty shocking.
“It’s a huge tree just lying right across the ground and resting on the single-storey extension.
“The gardener came just after it happened and said it looked like the tree had rotted inside and the dry weather could have dried it out.”
Damage was caused to the TV aerial and roof tiles and Ms Russell said a neighbouring tree leaning into her garden from behind her fence also looked precarious.
“If that goes towards my house that would cause considerable damage and go straight through my bedroom.” she said.
“I rang the council’s emergency services department and Streetpride, it took ages to get through, but they said they’re on unregistered land so can’t help.
“I even offered to pay half the costs if they could remove the trees, I don’t think I should be made to pay for all of it.
“I’m upset, angry and worried. I’m angry that it takes so much effort to talk to anybody and then the council just shrug it off as it’s not their problem when I really think it is, if it falls onto the allotments or my house it’s a health and safety issue.
“I don’t think it can be left indefinitely for everyone to argue about it.”
Ms Russell said she had been forced to sleep in a spare room for fear of the second tree falling through her roof.
“I tried the Environment Agency, who were helpful but said they were only responsible for the brook,” she said.
Following the Advertiser’s involvement, Ms Russell said council officials had visited her home and agreed the standing tree was a danger to life and property.
“Removing it could involve a crane which could cost more than £1,000. I still don’t know if I will have to contribute, I hope not as I still have roof and guttering repairs,” she said.
Ms Russell paid for a tree surgeon to remove the fallen tree.
“If their response improved because the Advertiser contacted them, then that’s not good enough. They should have contacted me yesterday
(Thursday), it would have saved me a lot of trouble,” she said.
“The biggest problem was the lack of communication, I was frustrated nobody seemed to care, which they have apologised for.”
A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said: “The Council is sorry to learn about the damage caused to Mrs Russell’s property caused by the partial collapse of a tree behind her house.
“A thorough investigation has established that the land where the tree is growing is actually unregistered private land and is not owned by the council.
“As such, Rotherham Council is not responsible for this tree.
“However, we do appreciate the difficult circumstances that Mrs Russell finds herself in and officers in our Green Spaces team are working with Mrs Russell to consider what options are available to her.”