Woman's 18-year tree nightmare was almost over - until her neighbour stepped in

Sarah Coles
Kathleen Cann
Kathleen Cann

Kathleen Cann, a 69-year-old retiree from Jarrow, has spent the best part of two decades struggling to deal with the problem tree in the street outsider her house. Now, just as it looked like the council would come to her rescue, her neighbour has stepped in to defend the tree. Kathleen is so fed up with it all that she is prepared to take matters into her own hands - and go to jail if needs be.

The Shields Gazette reported that the tree grows in the street outside Kathleen's house, which she says blocks the natural light from her front windows. The branches also tap against the window, which is terrifying at night, and the roots have made the pavements uneven and dangerous for her blind brother when he comes to visit. She moved into the property in 1997 and says she has struggled with issues ever since - so she has spent 18 years with the daily inconvenience and irritation caused by the tree.

The Daily Mail said she asked the council to remove it, but when they checked with neighbours whether they would mind, Janet Russell, 45, objected. She has campaigned to keep trees in the street, as she believes it makes it a nicer place to live.

It means that the council has merely pruned the tree, leaving Kathleen in the dark as she approaches 20 years with the nightmare tree.

She is so sick of the situation that she says she is prepared to cut it down herself. Fortunately for her, it looks like she won't have to. The Council told the Gazette that most of the residents were in favour of removing the tree, and that they were in discussions with the one resident in the street who objected. They said they were planning to remove the tree in the next few weeks and replace it with something more suitable.

Tree rows

This isn't the first time problems with trees have run for years.

We reported back in March on the Derby couple who received a £38,000 payout from the council after a ten-year-row over their neighbour's cedar tree. Both sets of neighbours had agreed it should be taken down, but the council refused on the grounds it was good for the area - and put a tree preservation order in place. The tree roots then went on to cause such significant damage to the property that they were forced to take the council to court for damages.

Back in 2013 we reported on the row over a row of conifer trees that raged in Cannock for 17 years. One neighbour planted the trees as a boundary between the properties, but they soared to over six feet high, and caused damage to their neighbour's home before the case finally ended up in the courts.

But perhaps the most long-running argument was one we covered last year. A retired librarian in Solihull had been asking her neighbour to trim the 50 feet conifer trees next door since shortly after they were planted in the 1980s. At that point the row had rumbled on for 30 years, and she was forced to keep her lights on all day because the trees blocked all the light. She said she could not afford to take her neighbours to court to resolve the dispute.

After Buying Neighbors' Homes, Facebook CEO To Tear Them Down
After Buying Neighbors' Homes, Facebook CEO To Tear Them Down