Council blasted after tree destroys cars in Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 13:36 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:32 09 October 2017

The damage the tree caused in Howicks Green, Welwyn Garden City. Picture credit: Welwyn Hatfield Times photographer Danny Loo.

The damage the tree caused in Howicks Green, Welwyn Garden City. Picture credit: Welwyn Hatfield Times photographer Danny Loo.

Danny Loo.

Residents have blasted the council after a large tree fell in Welwyn Garden City destroying multiple cars minutes before children would have been inside for the school run.

The scene at Howicks Green where a large tree has fallen, damaging three or four cars. Picture: Danny Loo The scene at Howicks Green where a large tree has fallen, damaging three or four cars. Picture: Danny Loo

Helen Dillury, 38, was left shaken and her 12-year-old son terrified after their black Ford was crushed by the tree that blocked the entire road.

The mum, who runs her own business The Favour Factory, was washing up while waiting for her son Max to get dressed for school when she heard a strange noise.

Max, who suffers from anxiety, screamed down the stairs that her car had been crushed by a tree.

Helen told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “We ran outside and saw that the car had been completely destroyed. It’s frightening because a couple of minutes later and we would have been sat in that car.

The black Ford car beloning to Helen Dillury with its front left wheel raised off the ground after being squashed by the falling tree. Picture: Danny Loo The black Ford car beloning to Helen Dillury with its front left wheel raised off the ground after being squashed by the falling tree. Picture: Danny Loo

“The thought of that makes me feel sick. It could have been fatal.

“I feel so shaken and it will trigger my son’s anxiety so bad. He’s in the front bedroom and he doesn’t want to sleep in there now.”

Helen added: “I’m so angry at the council. This could have been avoided if they’d paid attention to the complaints that residents have been sending them.

“Our neighbours have been so lovely and have been offering to take others to school that can’t leave because the road is blocked.”

Damage done to Marc Arnott's cars outside his house after a tree fell on it in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo Damage done to Marc Arnott's cars outside his house after a tree fell on it in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo

The residents now live in fear that two identical trees to the one that fell will also fall.

Helen, who has lived in the street for 14 years, said: “There are two other trees that I imagine are rotten inside as well right opposite our home and neighbours and it wouldn’t surprise me if they fell too.”

Marc Arnott, 26, was visiting his partner Gemma and their four kids when his two cars were also struck by the tree.

The Serco employee, who left to walk to his uncle’s minutes before the accident, said: “I got a sudden text from Gemma asking if I was okay, she was thinking the worst had happened to me and then she told me about my cars.

Damage done to Marc Arnott's car outside his house after a tree fell on it in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo Damage done to Marc Arnott's car outside his house after a tree fell on it in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo

“I ran back and what I saw was carnage. Both my cars are write-offs.

“It’s shocking because it’s like a 90ft tree and the winds weren’t that strong but if it had happened minutes later my kids and baby would have been in one of the cars.”

The council is currently on the scene chopping down the remaining two trees.

A Welwyn Hatfield Council spokeswoman said: “There were no plans to remove any of the poplar trees on Howicks Green because they showed no signs of decay or disease on their last inspection in 2015.

A Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council tree officer inspects the fallen tree in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo A Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council tree officer inspects the fallen tree in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo

“In June 2016, minor works were carried out to remove deadwood and prune lower growth.

“We will be removing the remaining two trees today, given that they are the same species and have grown up as a group.

“We will be dealing with compensation claims on a case by case basis.

“We look after around 45,000 individual trees. All trees are inspected on a rolling program to assess their health and structural condition. Any pruning or maintenance works considered necessary for the health of the tree, or for the safety of people, are recorded and work is undertaken on a priority basis.

A Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council tree officer inspects the fallen tree in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo A Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council tree officer inspects the fallen tree in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo

“We’ve checked our records and cannot find any reports from residents on Howicks Green raising concerns about the condition of the trees. If residents wish to report issues to us, they can call us on 01707 357000 or email contact-whc@welhat.gov.uk”

The fallen tree in Howicks Green shows sign of decay inside the trunk. Picture: Danny Loo The fallen tree in Howicks Green shows sign of decay inside the trunk. Picture: Danny Loo

Mr Dillury inspects his wife's car after it was squashed by a falling tree in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo Mr Dillury inspects his wife's car after it was squashed by a falling tree in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo

Workers start the cleanup operation after a large tree fell in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo Workers start the cleanup operation after a large tree fell in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo

The black Ford car beloning to Helen Dillury which has been squashed by the falling tree. Picture: Danny Loo The black Ford car beloning to Helen Dillury which has been squashed by the falling tree. Picture: Danny Loo

Police on the scene at Howicks Green where a large tree has fallen, damaging three or four cars. Picture: Danny Loo Police on the scene at Howicks Green where a large tree has fallen, damaging three or four cars. Picture: Danny Loo

The black Ford car beloning to Helen Dillury which has been squashed by the falling tree. Picture: Danny Loo The black Ford car beloning to Helen Dillury which has been squashed by the falling tree. Picture: Danny Loo

Massive tree falls on cars in Howicks Green, Welwyn Garden City. Picture credit: Chloe Dillury. Massive tree falls on cars in Howicks Green, Welwyn Garden City. Picture credit: Chloe Dillury.

Massive tree falls on cars in Howicks Green, Welwyn Garden City. Picture credit: Chloe Dillury. Massive tree falls on cars in Howicks Green, Welwyn Garden City. Picture credit: Chloe Dillury.

One of two cars belonging to Howicks Green resident Marc Arnott which was damaged by the falling tree. Picture: Danny Loo One of two cars belonging to Howicks Green resident Marc Arnott which was damaged by the falling tree. Picture: Danny Loo

The scene at Howicks Green where a large tree has fallen, damaging three or four cars. Picture: Danny Loo The scene at Howicks Green where a large tree has fallen, damaging three or four cars. Picture: Danny Loo

A worker starts the cleanup operation after a large tree fell in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo A worker starts the cleanup operation after a large tree fell in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo

Police on the scene at Howicks Green where a large tree has fallen, damaging three or four cars. Picture: Danny Loo Police on the scene at Howicks Green where a large tree has fallen, damaging three or four cars. Picture: Danny Loo

Workers start the cleanup operation after a large tree fell in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo Workers start the cleanup operation after a large tree fell in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo

Workers start the cleanup operation after a large tree fell in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo Workers start the cleanup operation after a large tree fell in Howicks Green. Picture: Danny Loo

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