Teacher's home 'like a disaster movie' after huge tree crushes roof

Lesley Allen Credit: BPM Media

A retired Derbyshire teacher has said she felt as though her house was being hit by an "earthquake" after a huge 50-metre-tall tree fell and smashed into her roof on Friday, January 13, amid high winds.

She says her home now feels like a "disaster movie" after the beech tree scraped down her house at 3.30am sending tiles raining down onto the conservatory she uses for private tutoring.

Lesley Allen, 66, who lives in Matlock, thinks someone could have been killed if they were walking between her house and Upper Greenhill Gardens, the land where the tree had stood, owned by The Guinness Partnership housing association.

She said: "I'm a retired teacher but now I do private tutoring in the conservatory that has been damaged - that's a problem for me as well.

"I'm really cross, I've been trying more or less since I moved in five or six years ago to get the trees removed.

"I've been fighting the owners of the trees for five years, but they have tree preservation orders on them.

"Now one has crushed my roof, covering the whole of my property.

The teacher has described the scene like a 'disaster movie' Credit: BPM Media

"The difficulty is getting somebody out to remove it, and if we have wind again other bits will come down and do more damage.

"Luckily I was awake in bed at the time, then all of a sudden I heard this cracking, and you know when you know instantly?

"I thought, 'It's the tree'. It felt like an earthquake, it hit the corner of my roof directly over my bedroom and tiles came off and hit the conservatory.

"They also damaged a patio cover on the side. I've only got a smallish garden and it's covered entirely now.

"There's also a lane blocked on the road and nobody can get through. If it had come down whilst somebody was walking by they would've been killed.

"I've been on about it for years - it's so frustrating.

"There are still trees in that plot that are worrying now and others could come down, but I can't do anything to them. It's like a disaster movie here."

Ms Allen says she has been campaigning for five years for the tree protection order (TPO) on the group of trees, including the one that fell onto her home, imposed by Derbyshire Dales District Council, to be removed due to fears for hers and neighbours' safety.

Liberal Democrat Derbyshire Dales district councillor for the ward, Martin Burfoot, said: "I have the utmost sympathy for Lesley, who has been aware of the danger posed by the offending TPO-protected trees for at least the past year or so.

"Most of the trees are at least 120 years old.

"The two trees concerned have fallen across an important public footpath, which will obviously remain closed for the foreseeable future.

"I trust Guinness Housing will take the necessary steps, together with the district council, to ensure that future risks are minimised. Lesley should not have to suffer any more unnecessary stress in the future."

A spokesperson for Guinness Housing confirmed at 1pm on January 13 that a representative was at Ms Allen's address organising the removal of the tree.

They have been approached for further comment.

Derbyshire Dales District Council has also been contacted for comment.