'I have no regrets about what I did to my neighbours' tree but it has split the street'


A homeowner who was involved in a bitter dispute with neighbours over a tree says she has no regrets about bringing a chainsaw to the battle. Irene Lee and her husband Graham had been in a year-long war with their neighbour when they decided to take matters into their own hands.

They were fed up with a tree at the edge of their neighbour Bharat Mistry’s property as they said it blocked their driveway and the birds on it were noisy.

And the couple, who are both in their 70s, also say it had branches and leaves which crossed the property line onto their land in Waterthorpe, Sheffield.

So, in 2021 they called in tree surgeons to cut the branches in half – so getting rid of everything that was on their property.

Two years later the tree is still standing and is still just a half, as the couple has kept up the maintenance on their side by trimming the branches back.

Mrs Lee says she has “no regrets” about her actions and told The Sun: “We have no regrets about cutting it in half and can't believe this is still news.”

And when asked if she was still at war loggerheads with the tree’s owners, she replied: “We get on with everyone in the street. We’ve been here for a long time.”

She previously said: “The birds weren't really the problem, the tree was blocking our driveway.

“What you can see at the moment is a third of what the tree was - we had two thirds of it hanging over on our side.

 And speaking after the tree was chopped in half, Mr Mistry said: “We were absolutely distraught.

“We pleaded and pleaded with them not to do it, but their mind was made up.

“That tree was coming down. I believe he has the right to cut down anything that is overhanging onto his property."

Mr Mistry added: "But you have to ask, why after 25 years would you do that? It must have been no more than 3ft onto his land.

"It is above head height, the bottom of the branches start at about 8ft high and we have cut off the branches lower down to be amiable with them.

"He can get his car on and off the drive with no issues. We had asked if we could get it trimmed back and put a net in it so it would stop birds getting in, but there was no compromise with them."

Mrs Lee says there’s no longer any animosity between herself and the rest of the neighbourhood over the tree, but local resident Pauline Kagtowski insists there's definitely "still friction".

She said: "We're not meant to take sides, but secretly we do, because both families have lived here for years and we don't want to offend either.

“Everyone around here knows about the conifer cut in half and it’s put out street on the map."

Citizens Advice says that what the Lees did is legally okay because a neighbour can cut branches that are overhanging into their garden as long as they only remove the bits on their side of the boundary.

But Daily Mirror reports that it’s recommended to try and resolve any issue informally and reach a compromise before you cut down any branches, so you can stay friendly with your neighbours.

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