Havant council pays retired postman £4,100 after legal row over tree roots that wrecked his patio

A RETIRED postman who took the council to court over tree roots that forced him to tear up his patio has won £4,100.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 3:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 5:53 pm
Trevor Lock, 64, with roots from the council's beech trees in his back garden. Picture: Malcolm Wells (190724-4790)

Trevor Lock received the sum as a settlement with Havant Borough Council last week after a six-month legal battle.

The 64-year-old mounted the case after roots from council-owned trees bordering his garage damaged his back garden’s patio.

But while the concrete was visibly raised by inches, the authority denied it was because of its three beech trees, off Elmleigh Road.

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Trevor Lock, 64, and one of the council's beech stumps outside his Havant garage. Picture: Malcolm Wells (190724-4803)

Mr Lock spent more than £7,000 to fight the case, but got back just a fraction of the sum.

He said: ‘This whole saga has been absolutely horrible – my wife and I have been at loggerheads with each other.

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‘She wanted me to drop the case because it was so stressful and, because the council denied liability, I had no idea if we would win.

The beech trees outside Mr Lock's home before they were cut down. Picture: Trevor Lock

‘I’m relieved it’s over now, but I’m disappointed with the settlement because we have not covered our costs.’

Mr Lock, who said he now ‘detests’ the council, said it treated him and his wife Hazel, 62, ‘appallingly’ during the case.

He fell ill with suspected lymphoma around Christmas and believes stress arising from the battle is to blame.

A probe in August, paid for by Mr Lock, found the roots and the trees were both beech – but the council refused to back down.

‘A blind man could see the roots were coming from these trees,' said Mr Lock.

‘They owe me an apology and I think my councillor should come over and personally say sorry for the way they have treated me.’

A council spokeswoman said: ‘Havant Borough Council accepts the trees, which were planted in a car park verge more than 20 years ago, have had an impact on Mr Lock’s patio.

‘The trees in question were felled in July 2019 and the council have agreed a settlement with Mr Lock which, in addition to the sum mentioned, will also involve remedial action to deal with the remaining tree stumps.

‘The council’s arboriculture manager will be writing to Mr Lock in due course.’