Call to chop troublesome tree in suburb amid safety fears

Pamela Beer, 86, is calling on Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Highways to maintain the sycamore tree outside her home

Pamela Beer, 86, is calling on Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Highways to maintain - or cut down - the sycamore tree outside her Margetson Avenue home - Credit: Maya Derrick

Neighbours are hoping a tree which is turning an NR7 pavement into a "slip hazard" will be given a haircut - or even torn down completely. 

The Thorpe St Andrew sycamore is usually native to woodlands and has caused the walkway outside Pamela Beer's home to buckle, with its leaves also creating a slip hazard to passers-by.

The 86-year-old widow has lived in her Margetson Avenue home for more than 50 years and turned for the Evening News as part of the 'We'll Sort It' campaign, which aims to fix people's problems across the city.

Pamela Beer, 86, at her Margetson Avenue home

Pamela Beer, 86, at her Margetson Avenue home in Norwich - Credit: Maya Derrick

She said: "They used to pollard it every two years because the branches got longer and longer.

"They used to hang right into our garden, over the road and the branches at the bottom used to catch people and hit them on the head.

Branches have sprouted from the sycamore's trunk, which have been known to catch passers by

Branches have sprouted from the sycamore's trunk, which have been known to catch passers by. Pamela said that she just snaps them off - Credit: Maya Derrick

"I complained about it to Highways, but nothing was ever done about it."

Pollarding keeps trees and shrubs smaller than they would naturally grow.

She added: "With a pollard, you can't leave it and not maintain it because the branches are weak so they droop.

Pamela explained how branches of the sycamore are weaker due to pollarding work which has not been maintained

Pamela Beer explained how branches of the sycamore outside her home are weaker due to pollarding work which has not been maintained by Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Highways - Credit: Maya Derrick

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"The leaves are huge and they all go on to the path and in the garden. I have to pay someone to clear it.

"When the leaves get wet, older people walk on the road, not the path. They're frightened that they're going to slip over."

A Norfolk County Council spokesman confirmed that although recent works undertaken have removed obstructions along the footpath, the "resulting appearance of the tree has departed somewhat from the accepted standard", adding that re-pollarding work will be brought forward.

Pamela and her husband William, who died three years ago, bought their plot of land in Margetson Avenue and built their home in 1970.

The tree was already well-established when they moved in.

Sycamore trees can grow to a height of up to 35 metres

Sycamore trees can grow to a height of up to 35 metres - Credit: Maya Derrick

She added: "This space used to be a farm. So how old the tree is I don't know.

"I called to find out when the council were going to come down. 

"I hope that the paper can help them see sense. I invited them to come around so they can see what the problem was, but they never did."

Large stumps grow on the sycamore tree where it has previously been pollarded

Large stumps grow on the sycamore tree where it has previously been pollarded - Credit: Maya Derrick