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Camden couple’s lucky escape after rotten oak tree comes crashing into their garden

Julia Hsiung with the fallen Oak tree. Picture: Polly Hancock Julia Hsiung with the fallen Oak tree. Picture: Polly Hancock

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
3:26 PM

An elderly couple have attacked Camden Council after an enormous oak tree fell through their property.

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Deh-Ta Hsiung, 82, and wife Julia, 62, who heard a huge crash one morning over the Christmas period, awoke to the sight of their garden completely destroyed by the huge tree.

The couple, who live in Aberdare Gardens, South Hampstead, claim they warned the council about the “rotting” oak on their property and sent a request to have it chopped down over a month before.

They say they never received a response.

“After my dog started sniffing around the tree I went to inspect it and I could see it was rotting,” said Mrs Hsiung.

“I was afraid it could land on our house at any minute so I contacted the council to get permission to have it chopped down.

“But nobody came. I heard nothing. We were left with this dangerous thing hanging over us.

“If this huge oak tree happened to fall the other way, it would have flattened our house and we could have been killed.”

Cllr Phil Jones, Camden cabinet member for sustainability, transport, and planning: “The council received a notification of intended tree pruning works in a conservation area, which in addition also asked for expert advice on what to do with a diseased tree at the rear of the garden.

“While council officers raised no objection to the pruning, where residents ask for advice on privately-owned trees the council suggests contacting a tree surgeon for help with defining appropriate work.

“Residents do not require council permission to fell protected trees where they are dead or dangerous, but are recommended to provide five working days notice to the council where possible in order to ascertain that the tree is genuinely dead or dangerous.”

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