Council blasted after tree destroys cars in Welwyn Garden City
PUBLISHED: 13:36 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:32 09 October 2017
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.
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 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.”
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.
“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.
“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.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org”