Man tells Leicestershire County council 'I don't want you on my land' in trees row

A disgruntled homeowner who felt cheated out of compensation after a tree fell on his garden gate is having a new row with officials. Leicestershire County Council workers want to get on Brian Rich’s land to cut down another tree, but he is denying them access and is now being threatened with legal action. In the summer a group of trees on public land next to Mr Rich’s home in Gynsill Close, Anstey, were at risk of being blown over and the county council earmarked them for felling within the next three months.

Two days before the three-month deadline expired – and with no sign of the work being carried out – one of the trees collapsed onto the 71-year-old’s yard during a storm, smashing his gate. Because there were still two days remaining, the council said it owed Mr Rich no compensation. He wanted GBP300 to replace the gate.

When LeicestershireLive approached the county council a spokesman said: “Unfortunately it is not our policy to pay compensation in cases such as this.” Since then the other trees threatening the land have fallen without causing any damage, but there is one other tree the county council still wants to remove.

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In early December, about four months after the initial row, the council visited Mr Rich to ask him for permission to bring their vehicle onto his land. Mr Rich, who is a market trader, told them they could forget it.

“I said it’s simple – I don’t want you on my land,” he said. “I’ve had so much trouble from them already and it’s private land.” He claims the tree the council wants to fell is not a threat to his land and that they have plenty of room on the public land to chop it down.

He said: “They say they can’t put their eight-ton truck on the side of the road there. But I certainly don’t want it on my land, sinking into the ground. “They’ve been back twice and I told them the same thing.

I said, ‘I’m not giving you access – you’re not coming on my land’.” Now Brian has received a letter from County Hall threatening legal action if he does not let them on his land. He said: “It says that Leicestershire County Council requires access and it’s the only feasible way they can do the work.

“They’re talking about legal action now but I don’t think they would waste the money doing that. “I’ve spoken to a solicitor and the Citizen’s Advice people at Beaumont Leys Library.”

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A Leicestershire County Council spokesman confirmed the council was considering using “statutory powers” to get access to Brian’s land. He said: “We inspected trees near to Mr Rich’s property last year and identified one that needs removing as it poses a risk.

“The only way to remove it safely is to carry out the work on Mr Rich’s land but we haven’t been granted access to enter his property. “We’ll continue to work with Mr Rich to find a solution. Where we can’t gain permission we may have to use statutory powers available to enter land without consent, but we hope that this won’t be necessary.

“Anyone concerned about the safety of trees situated in the public highway can contact us on 0116 305 0001.”