VIDEO: Uckfield’s great leylandii dispute

Residents of Oakwood Drive, Uckfield are worried about dangers posed by leylandii trees after one fell and blocked the road during Saturday night’s storms.

Ruth Bailey said the tree was blown down and obstructed the road, damaging an 80 year old woman’s house and smashing a campervan.

Oakwood Drive, Uckfield. Local residents upset by dangerious Laylandii

Oakwood Drive, Uckfield. Local residents upset by dangerious Laylandii

“This is not the first time,” she said. “On Christmas Eve part of the same tree fell the other way, blocking the path and and damaging another neighbour’s property. If a whole tree was to fall onto one of our houses someone could be killed.” She explained the incident meant people living in homes beyond the tree could not get in or out. Neighbours cut away the fallen tree.

She believes the land was owned by a builder who went bankrupt, and has been told no-one knows who owns it now. “Evidently 25 years must elapse before the council can be responsible. We need these trees cut down. No-one here can afford to pay for the job to be done.”

A council spokesman said: “If residents believe the trees are a hazard they should contact Wealden District Council and we will investigate. Trees in Oakwood Drive ,including 32 cypress leylandii, are covered by a Tree Protection Order. This should not prove an obstacle to their proper management. Land ownership is not a matter for the council”

Wildlife charity WRAS founder Trevor Weeks MBE is worried removing the trees would make birds homeless when evergreen shelter is desperately needed. “If trees must be felled it should be done later in the year when wintering birds are not using the shelter. It would be in everyone’s interest - human and wildlife - if they were reduced in height instead. This will cut the safety risk, maintain privacy and greenery in an ever increasing concrete jungle. Professionals should advise on options.”