Woman banned from pruning 72ft tree growing in her garden
A teacher has been refused permission to prune a giant 72ft tree which towers over her home despite it being in her own garden.
Celia Senior, 57, fears the huge lime tree is at risk of falling on her house if it's left untreated.
She and her husband moved into the house in Darlington, County Durham, in 2007 when the tree was around 30ft tall.
The tree is now more than twice the size of their home and Senior says it is making their lives a misery.
She applied to Darlington Borough Council for permission to have it trimmed to around 35ft and even offered to pay £3,000 to have the work done professionally.
But the council refused, saying it was protected by a tree preservation order and any pruning would ruin its appearance.
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A tree preservation order is a special protection placed on a tree to protect it from being cut down, trimmed or damaged.
Senior said she knew about the tree preservation order when they bought the house and they were initially fond of it, but it say it is "just too big now."
She said: "I really don’t want the tree cut down, I just want to manage it so it is safe.
"Our gutters are constantly blocked by moss and leaves and our TV and phone signal is badly affected by it.
"During the winter storms I was really worried because I could hear the wind rocking the tree.
"If the tree falls over then it will crush our house and the neighbour’s home too."
Senior said she had commissioned an independent report about what would be best for the tree, which suggested it needed a "significant crown reduction and reshape" to keep it safe.
The report said the tree should be cut down to around 35ft
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In January this year, the council rejected her application, saying the tree was protected and any pruning would have a “detrimental impact” to its appearance.
Senior lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate in a bid to overturn the ruling but is still waiting for a response.
She added: "I really don’t think the council is being logical. I can’t understand their objection because it will look a lot nicer in the neighbourhood.
"The council wrote to the neighbours and no one had any objections to the tree being pruned. People have even being saying it’s about time it’s done."
A spokesperson for Darlington Borough Council said: "We can confirm permission was refused for the tree works and we understand the house owner has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.
"It would not be appropriate to comment while we, like the householder, await the outcome of the appeal."