Forty Hill resident left in the dark by council neglect

Jon Woods cannot see for the trees, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Jon Woods beside the trees that are blocking light to his property
Jon Woods beside the trees that are blocking light to his property

A Forty Hill resident says overgrown trees are blocking light from his windows and causing a fire safety hazard – but Enfield Council is refusing to tackle the issue.

Jon Woods, who lives in Chimneys Lodge, says the trees are on council-owned land but the authority has failed to cut them back, meaning “more than 70%” of natural light is being blocked out.

He says the space behind the trees has been used as a toilet and rubbish dump, with human faeces, empty vodka bottles and nitrous oxide canisters recently found there. And he fears the “dead wood” inside the trees could cause a huge fire if someone throws a cigarette butt inside.

Jon said: “I pay my council tax and have done ever since I started work. They [the council] have a tree reporting service. I’ve reported it to them three or four times, but you get little or no reply.

“The last time they said ‘it has been passed to our parks division, and we consider the case closed’. I contacted the parks division and I just got no reply from them. It feels like a bit of an insult. […] We all have to pay council tax and expect service for that payment.

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“I can cut back as much as I can behind the fence, but it is not getting to the root of the problem.”

Jon said the trees were also covering “half the public walkway” that runs across the green in front of his block of flats.

He said: “There are masses of dead wood inside the core of those trees. If someone were to chuck a cigarette, the whole thing would go up.”

Jon said the council was failing to get to grips with other maintenance issues and suggested standards had dropped since the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said tall weeds had been left covering the outside of his fence, but the caretaker of the flats removed them when he painted it.

And he said the green in front of the flats was covered with chest-high grass, weeds and nettles for most of the summer until it was finally cut a few weeks ago.

“Before Covid, all this was beautiful,” Jon said. “They used to keep the grass nice and short, but it seems where they can get away with it they are not doing it.”

Enfield Council has been approached for comment.

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