Pensioner’s decades-long fight over tree blocking light

Kathleen Cann complaining about state of pavement outside her home, plus an overgrown tree with branches now extending to her window
Kathleen Cann complaining about state of pavement outside her home, plus an overgrown tree with branches now extending to her window
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An angry pensioner says she has been left in the dark by an overgrown tree towering over her South Tyneside home.

Kathleen Cann has been at loggerheads with council chiefs for almost two decades over the mature tree next to her property in Maple Street, Jarrow.

Kathleen Cann complaining about state of pavement outside her home, plus an overgrown tree with branches now extending to her window

Kathleen Cann complaining about state of pavement outside her home, plus an overgrown tree with branches now extending to her window

She says the root cause of the problem is the loss of sunlight – but her calls for her nuisance neighbour to be removed have so far fallen on deaf ears.

Mrs Cann has lived on the street since 1997 but says she is now at the end of her tether.

South Tyneside Council has pledged to bring forward pruning of the rowan tree to next spring.

The 68-year-old said: “I have lived here for 18 years and I have had problems with the tree all that time. It has grown so much that it is taking up the step outside my home.

It is terrible - it is blocking out all of the sunlight.

Kathleen Cann

“It is terrible - it is blocking out all of the sunlight.

“It hasn’t even been pruned for a couple of years. I have offered to pay for it to removed myself.

“I am just sick of it. I have been in constant contact with the council over the issue for years.

Mrs Cann feels the overbearing branches of the tree could also prove costly if she wanted to sell her house.

Kathleen Cann complaining about state of pavement outside her home, plus an overgrown tree with branches now extending to her window

Kathleen Cann complaining about state of pavement outside her home, plus an overgrown tree with branches now extending to her window

A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “Trees play an important role in enhancing the beauty of the landscape while also offering a multitude of social, economic, health and environmental benefits.

“The council manages around one million trees and maintains more than 5,500 individual specimens across the borough every year.

“They are inspected annually under the council’s tree and woodland policy and pruned on average every five to seven years in line with national standards.

“Pruning of this particular tree was not due for another two years.

“However, following the concerns raised and an assessment of its condition, we have brought forward the works to next spring. We only remove trees as a last resort, usually in cases where trees are in a state of decline or they pose a safety risk.”