Sussex man's war against maple tree: 'I can't use my drive because of falling leaves'

After losing the battle with Mother Nature over a moulting maple tree, one fed-up resident is taking the war to the local council in the hopes it will finally get a trim.

Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 4:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st November 2018, 4:42 pm
Paul Parker and his wife Marion

Paul Parker said the Norway maple opposite his home in Rosemead, Littlehampton, had been a thorn in his side for the 12 years he has lived there with his wife Marion.

This autumn, the 68-year-old claimed he had filled 25 bin bags with leaves that littered his drive and blocked his guttering, and which he has had to take to the dump.

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Paul Parker and his wife Marion

He said he was feeling ‘a bit fed up’ with the situation: “It is the annoyance of it all.

Paul Parker and his wife Marion

“You open your front door and you will have a pile of leaves out there. You clean everything and then they are back. I can’t see my garden because of it – it just leaves such a mess.”

He said they also cannot use their drive because the leaves clog up the vents in their cars, and sap from the tree could damage the paintwork. As a result, the couple had to park on the street, which upped their car insurance premium, Mr Parker said.

The couple’s concerns were also rooted in something more dangerous.

Mr Parker said: “It is leaning towards the house.

“We are afraid if it got struck by lightning, it would smash into our bedroom or toilet. We have grandchildren and when they come to stay it is a worry.”

Mr Parker said that he and some neighbours had contacted Arun District Council over the years asking for the tree to be substantially pruned – but, apart from a minor trim last year, nothing had been done.

Despite admitting it was ‘beautiful’, Mr Parker claimed the tree was a perennial pain, as in the summer the leaves block out light in their living room and whirling seed pods litter the ground.

Due to the lack of light, Mr Parker said he may have to buy some light and space paint to make the room feel more airy – an added expense.

Arun District Council confirmed it had carried out work to reduce the crown of the tree, but that trees in this area were protected under a tree preservation order.

A spokesman said: “Falling leaves and sap are a seasonal and natural occurrence, and therefore are not something the council can prevent.

“However, an Arun District Council tree and landscape officer will visit the site and review the situation to see if a repeat operation is needed.”

Arun’s tree policy can be found on the council website.