Retired Havant postman takes the council to court over tree roots he fears could topple his garage

TREE roots under a retired postman’s home have sparked a legal battle over claims they risk toppling a garage.

Monday, 29th July 2019, 9:57 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 6:43 pm
The trees outside Mr Lock's home, which have been cut down by the council. Picture: Trevor Lock

Trevor Lock is spending almost £1,000 to go to court in a bid to prove roots under his patio at his Elmleigh Road home belong to Havant Borough Council. 

The authority cut down three of its trees lining the brick wall outside his home. Mr Lock, 64, insists the roots he has uncovered, and which he says have damaged his patio, belong to the same trees and wants compensation.

The saga began five years ago when Mr Lock called on the authority to trim the trees after their branches continuously hit his Havant home just yards away in high winds. 

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Trevor Lock, 64, with the huge beech stumps left inches from his garage after two trees were cut down by Havant Borough Council. Picture: Malcolm Wells (190724-4803)

But the fallout now, he fears, could be far worse than a few broken roof tiles if the council does not accept it owns the roots that are wreaking havoc.

‘I just do not understand how the council can deny liability,' he said.

‘A blind man can see where the roots are coming from and it seems whoever owns the trees is responsible for the damage caused by their roots. 

‘Now the council has removed the trees, my concern is that there are two massive tree stumps within inches of my garage wall. The garage will probably fall down.’

Trevor Lock, 64, with the havoc-wreaking roots he says are owned by the council and damaging his home. He has painted them silver to highlight them. Picture: Malcolm Wells (190724-4790)

A structural engineer told Mr Lock the roots would leave gaping cavities beneath his garage if they were to degrade or be pulled out. 

Mr Lock has also removed a section of his patio to follow the roots, which he claims have raised ‘six metres' of his garden slabs by about an inch. 

His court claim, for full compensation for expert identification of the roots and repairs for damage they have caused, has ‘scared’ his 62-year-old wife Hazel.

The retired bank manage said: ‘Even though the problem appears to be more with our garage, I just don’t want our house to fall down. 

The beech trees outside Mr Lock's garage before they were cut down by Havant Borough Council. Picture: Trevor Lock

‘This is somewhere we want to live for the rest of our lives and Havant Borough Council are not helping us.’ 

Mr Lock has sent samples to a Berkshire firm for identification.

The council said its insurers are dealing and it was unable to comment.