A Darlington householder is facing mounting frustration after being refused permission to trim the giant tree which now towers about her home.

The lime tree was there before Celia Senior moved into her home in 2007 but it is now 72 feet – or 22metres - tall and towers above her Brompton Way property.

However, because it is covered by a tree preservation order the 57-year-old teacher is unable to carry out any pruning without permission – which has been refused by Darlington Borough Council.

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She said: “I don’t want the tree cut down, I just want to manage it. We’re absolutely inundated with mess in the gutters, and we’re concerned about the public footpath as week because it’s starting to raise up to paving slabs.

“Initially we were concerned it might fall onto the house because of the way it is leaning but the independent arborist said that wasn’t the case but he thought it does need to be managed.”

She added: “It’s growing taller – it just gets bigger and bigger”.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The lime tree in Brompton Way Picture: STUART BOULTON The lime tree in Brompton Way Picture: STUART BOULTON

A report produced by an independent arborist recommended a significant crown reduction and reshape to reduce the overall height of the tree.

Saying the tree was in good form and vitality, with no significant evidence of structural weak points, the report said: “Common Lime are fast growing trees that will reach a significant height. Without suitable management this tree will continue to increase in size, both vertically and laterally.

“Due to its size, more significant structural failure must not be dismissed, and a suitable arboricultural management program is required to reduce this health and safety risk and maintain and ensure the health of the tree.”

He recommended that work should be done to the crown of the tree, which is what Ms Senior had applied to do.

She lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate in January but is still awaiting a response.

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Ms Senior added: “I just don’t think what the council has said is logical. I can’t really understand their objection because it will look a lot nicer in the neighbourhood.”

She added: “They wrote to the neighbours and no-one had any objections. In fact people have being saying it’s about time it’s done.”

A spokesperson for Darlington Borough Council said: “We can confirm permission was refused for the tree works and we understand the house owner has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate. It would not be appropriate to comment while we, like the householder,  await the outcome of the appeal."

Darlington and Stockton Times: The tree in Brompton Way, Darlington Picture: Stuart Boulton The tree in Brompton Way, Darlington Picture: Stuart Boulton

A refusal notice issued by the council says the tree is considered in “reasonable form and condition” 

It adds: "Without any satisfactory justification, the proposed crown lift and associated pruning would result in a loss of natural form to a protected tree in acceptable condition with no safety concerns, furthermore the application has not provided any structural reasons for the proposed work.”

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