Widow is left feeling ‘smothered’ by trees

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OVERHANGING trees are leaving a pensioner feeling ‘smothered’ in her own home.

Mrs Barbara Hills, of Tottington Way, Shoreham, said she has been battling for action for four years but nothing has been done.

“It is frustrating. I can’t see any way out of it,” said the 71-year-old. “Some of them overhang 10ft plus. On that side of my garden I have chairs but I can’t sit there and my washing line is there as well. I could move it but why should I?

“It affects my light. I feel I am being smothered.”

The trees form part of a wooded bank running between the A27 Shoreham bypass and Slonk Hill Road. Mrs Hills’ property sits between Tottington Way and New Barn Road, with the bank of trees running along the northern boundary.

Mrs West Said she had been ‘toing and froing’ with Balfour Beatty, West Sussex County Council’s highways contractor, for four years.

“They said they are not a danger to anybody,” she said. “They said if I cut them down, they will clear it away.

“I am a widow and I cannot afford to have it done. I lost my husband last year.

“They are encroaching on my land so far that they are almost touching the roof of my bungalow.

“If it was the other way round, I would have to get them trimmed.

“Balfour Beatty wrote to me saying it was at the rear of my property, but it is not, it is at the side.

“They said they did a site visit but they didn’t tell me, so they have not looked at it from my property. They told me the trees did not present a safety hazard.”

Mrs Hills said as the years went on, the trees were getting bigger and bigger.

West Sussex County Council is responsible for the inspection and maintenance of most of the highway but a spokesman pointed out the line of trees running next to the A27 was outside of the land the council maintained.

He said: “The Highways Agency is responsible for these trees. Balfour Beatty are the contractor for the A27, as part of the Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald contract.”

A Highways Agency spokesman said safety was a ‘top priority’.

“We have been out to inspect the trees alongside the A27 and will continue to monitor them.

“They do not present a safety risk and we have to prioritise our funding to provide the best value for taxpayers.”