STRONG gales caused a tree to collapse on a woman’s home last week – and county council contractors demanded cash to make the area safe.

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The tree was felled by windy conditions and crashed down onto the house in Huggins Lane, Welham Green.

Homeowner Jeanette Webb was unable to go inside the house for fear the roof might collapse last Wednesday.

But “shocked” Stacey Fenlon, who is the partner of Mrs Webb’s son, said council contractors arrived and demanded money for putting five traffic cones down.

She told the WHT: “The council have turned up and put some cones out and are charging us for the privilege of having the cones.

“They’ve just turned up put the cones out and sat in the van.”

The road had to be closed while work was being carried out.

Miss Fenlon said the contractors weren’t allowed to use a chainsaw to safely remove the tree and Mrs Webb had to fork out for a tree surgeon to do the work.

After the WHT’s intervention Ringway, a contractor on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council, said it would waive its fee.

Matthew Kelley, the firm’s divisional manager, said: “Managing road closures such as this falls within Ringway’s remit working together with the emergency services and Hertfordshire County Council.

“When a hazard is on private property but affecting the public highway and safety of highway users, it does have cost implications for us as a contractor as well as the local authority.”

He added: “On this occasion, we will not be passing any costs on as our involvement was purely preventative and the householder took very proactive action to clear the tree and remove the potential interruption to the network and travelling public.”

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