A DANGEROUS tree in Bradford Abbas which could pose an “immediate risk” to neighbouring residents may need to be chopped down, council officials have warned.
The large beech tree, which is around 120 years old, sits on a wall in the grounds of the Grange, overlooking Church Road.
Dorset County Council highways officials cordoned off part of the pavement next to the tree due to concerns the wall beneath it was crumbling and falling away.
Now members of West Dorset District Council’s building and tree preservation departments have given owner Craig Stoddart 21 days to carry out work before it takes steps to remove the tree itself, with permission from the courts.
John Greenslade, the district council’s development services manager, said the wall was being monitored regularly.
He said: “If there is any deterioration, the district council can use emergency powers under section 78 of the Building Act 1984 to intervene and remove the risk.”
The owner would be charged for the work.
Robin Legg, district councillor for the Bradford Abbas ward, said the tree could cause immediate risk to passers by, road users and neighbouring residents.
He said: “The homes of residents next to and opposite the tree are in a direct line of fire, with a risk to their home and their families should the tree fall unexpectedly.
“Their properties would be severely damaged if the tree was to fall.”
“The tree has been a safety concern for nearly five years.”
Rumours circulated that residents were advised to sleep in their back bedrooms in case the tree should topple in the night but these could not be confirmed.
Mr Legg said: “If this is the case then this is a real concern and means we should act immediately. But this is not something that I have heard.”
Members of the council’s development control committee will discuss the situation again on Thursday.
Mr Stoddart could not be contacted by the time the Western Gazette went to press.