Lucky escape as huge tree branch falls on home

Rob Garrett with son Harrison. Picture by Terry Caws

Rob Garrett with son Harrison. Picture by Terry Caws

First published in News
Last updated
Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A HUGE branch crashed through the roof of a High Wycombe family’s home - narrowly avoiding their two-year-old son as he slept.

Harrison Garrett was fast asleep in his bedroom when the branch from a horse-chestnut tree in the back garden of the Glynswood home snapped off in the high-winds and ploughed through the roof.

His father Rob said had the branch fallen two metres to the right, it would have come crashing through the middle of Harrison’s room.

Mr Garrett, 32, said: "We were all in bed and it was very noisy with the high winds, we could hear the trees blowing around outside.

"Then there was an almighty crash and the car alarm going off, the tree had come through the ceiling between Harrison’s old & new rooms.

"My wife Emma, who was heavily pregnant at the time, took Harrison outside and all the neighbours were already out cleaning up.

"Harrison was very shaken and frightened but was fine. But had it fallen two meters the other side it would have gone right through his room - it could have been horrific so we’re very thankful he’s OK."

The IT consultant asked Wycombe District Council for permission to cut-back six protected trees in his garden in March - including the horse-chestnut which was overhanging the property.

But the council declined, stating the proposed crowning was ‘excessive, not justified and would have a detrimental impact on the area’.

Mr Garrett said: "It’s disappointing. I’ve had a couple of tree surgeons out here since it happened and they said had the tree been reduced by 30 percent this probably would not have happened.

"One of the surgeons looked at it and said there’s clear evidence of decay in the tree which should have been picked up by the council’s team. But at no point did the council say it was potentially dangerous.

"It adds character and it’s great to protect trees, I accept that, but trees should only be protected where it is safe to do so. I could see the tree was overgrown and was a potential risk - now it’s too late."

The branch caused an estimated £40,000 worth of damage to the Garrett’s home and car on February 14, as well as the cost of crowning the remaining tree.

The family now face the prospect of living out of a suitcase for the foreseeable future with a new-born baby while the property is rebuilt.

"We are thankful no-one was hurt but it has been emotionally tough and stressful with this and the baby’s birth nine-days ago", Mr Garrett added.

WDC said it was sorry to hear of the incident and pleased no-one was hurt but moved to clear up why it refused the crowning application.

In a statement the council said: "The reason given for the works was ‘for maintenance’.

"The reason given at the time for the proposed works didn’t make sense in arboriculture terms as it didn’t specify what would be maintained.

"In addition, there was no evidence that a structural condition assessment of the trees had taken place which would justify the significant reduction. As a result, the proposal was considered inappropriate and refused."

Comments (2)

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8:47pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Marl25 says...

A Qualified Tree Surgeon says the tree shows signs of decay. Typical of the Council to shirk their responsibilities. Come on do the right thing.

I'm thankful no harm came to the family. They now have a new addition to the family and as we know this can be a stressful time. They could potentially have to leave the house whilst work is carried out.

If the council had agreed the permission in the first place, this may not have happened.
A Qualified Tree Surgeon says the tree shows signs of decay. Typical of the Council to shirk their responsibilities. Come on do the right thing. I'm thankful no harm came to the family. They now have a new addition to the family and as we know this can be a stressful time. They could potentially have to leave the house whilst work is carried out. If the council had agreed the permission in the first place, this may not have happened. Marl25
  • Score: 4

6:49am Sat 1 Mar 14

1wycombe says...

wycombe district council is a waste of time under TORYS.....simple as that
wycombe district council is a waste of time under TORYS.....simple as that 1wycombe
  • Score: 0

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