Resident welcomes removal of historic tree after 30-foot-long branch falls, blocking his driveway and leaving public pathway unusable

PUBLISHED: 14:57 20 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:20 20 August 2020

Roger Newark, of Benwick Road, Doddington, has welcomed the removal of a historic tree after one of its 30-foot-long branches fell at 5.30am on Wednesday August 19, blocking him in his home and leaving a public pathway unusable. Picture: ROGER NEWARK

Roger Newark, of Benwick Road, Doddington, has welcomed the removal of a historic tree after one of its 30-foot-long branches fell at 5.30am on Wednesday August 19, blocking him in his home and leaving a public pathway unusable. Picture: ROGER NEWARK

Archant

A Doddington man welcomed the removal of a historic tree that had been “dead for a long time” after one of its 30-foot-long branches fell, blocking him in his home and leaving a public pathway unusable.

Roger Newark, of Benwick Road, Doddington, has welcomed the removal of a historic tree after one of its 30-foot-long branches fell at 5.30am on Wednesday August 19, blocking him in his home and leaving a public pathway unusable. Picture: ROGER NEWARKRoger Newark, of Benwick Road, Doddington, has welcomed the removal of a historic tree after one of its 30-foot-long branches fell at 5.30am on Wednesday August 19, blocking him in his home and leaving a public pathway unusable. Picture: ROGER NEWARK

Roger Newark, of Benwick Road, said he and his wife were “awoken by a loud bang” at about 5.30am on Wednesday (August 19).

“We looked out but couldn’t see anything as it was still dark. However, when daylight came, we could see that a 30 foot long branch had fallen off a tree that was growing in the grounds of the electrical sub station which adjoins our property.”

Mr Newark quickly informed police, Fenland Council and UK Power Networks (who own the tree) because “it was completely blocking the public footway and blocking our access from our driveway.

Roger Newark, of Benwick Road, Doddington, has welcomed the removal of a historic tree after one of its 30-foot-long branches fell at 5.30am on Wednesday August 19, blocking him in his home and leaving a public pathway unusable. Picture: ROGER NEWARKRoger Newark, of Benwick Road, Doddington, has welcomed the removal of a historic tree after one of its 30-foot-long branches fell at 5.30am on Wednesday August 19, blocking him in his home and leaving a public pathway unusable. Picture: ROGER NEWARK

“It also blocked access into Doddington’s famous bier house (old fire station) and meant that pedestrians would have to step into the road”.

He said an engineer from UK Power Networks, who arrived by 10am to access the situation, “immediately arranged for an arboricultural contractor to attend” - they arrived by lunchtime.

Mr Newark said “the debris on the footway was immediately cut up and removed” and the contractors then told him that they would return the next day to erect scaffolding over the bier house for protection”.

Roger Newark, of Benwick Road, Doddington, has welcomed the removal of a historic tree after one of its 30-foot-long branches fell at 5.30am on Wednesday August 19, blocking him in his home and leaving a public pathway unusable. Picture: ROGER NEWARKRoger Newark, of Benwick Road, Doddington, has welcomed the removal of a historic tree after one of its 30-foot-long branches fell at 5.30am on Wednesday August 19, blocking him in his home and leaving a public pathway unusable. Picture: ROGER NEWARK

The contractor also said they would need to “arrange for traffic management due to the hazardous location”.

“It was fortunate that the branch came down at a time when no pedestrians were walking by,” Mr Newark added.

“But two hours later dog walkers and care staff going to Askham House would have been passing by and a fatality could easily have happened.”

Roger Newark, of Benwick Road, Doddington, has welcomed the removal of a historic tree after one of its 30-foot-long branches fell at 5.30am on Wednesday August 19, blocking him in his home and leaving a public pathway unusable. Picture: ROGER NEWARKRoger Newark, of Benwick Road, Doddington, has welcomed the removal of a historic tree after one of its 30-foot-long branches fell at 5.30am on Wednesday August 19, blocking him in his home and leaving a public pathway unusable. Picture: ROGER NEWARK

Mr Newark said the tree in question had been “a concern for a number of years” and that he had reported it two or three years ago to UK Power Networks requesting its removal”.

While he says nothing happened at the time due to there being a preservation order from Fenland District Council which prevented its removal, the UKPN engineer confirmed that the “emergency situation overrode the order”.

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Today, a UK Power Network team is on the scene removing the tree’s branches, and Mr Newark has been told that they will return tomorrow to cut the trunk down to ground level.

He hopes this incident - “which luckily did not result in any injury or damage - acts as a “wake-up call to all concerned” and that “any future problems will now be resolved”.


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