A grandfather who fought to get a ‘dangerous’ tree felled for 30 years has been left devastated – after it crashed into his house during Storm Erik.
Melvin Toon, 68, says he has made ‘countless’ calls to Nottingham City Council about the tree since moving into the property in 1985.
He said the tree – which was around 25 feet from his home in Bulwell, Nottingham – had always shaken heavily in the wind.
He also believed it did not have enough space for roots to make it stable, and feared it would come down one day.
The great-grandfather was told by the council it was protected under a preservation order – but Mr Toon said it was only trimmed once every ten years.
During Storm Erik winds of 50mph brought the chestnut tree down onto the house at 6.45am on February 9 – causing an estimated £20,000 of damage.
The 40 foot tree damaged the roof, loft and the middle room at the back of the house.
Many of Mr Toon’s belongings were covered in dirt from the loft, and have since become damp from the hole in the roof.
The retired demolition worker and ex-serviceman said: ‘Countless times I have rung them up.
‘They told me it has got a preservation order on it. When there was high wind we could see the branches bending.
‘I always thought “one day, that tree is going to come down”.’
Mr Toon’s eldest son Paul Toon, 40, had been staying in the middle room at the back of the house until four days before the incident.
The family dog Stanley, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, had been sleeping in the middle room but managed to get out at the moment the tree hit the house.
Melvin said: ‘At about 6.45am, I was about to get up when all of a sudden there was a tremendous bang.
‘The whole room room shook and it was drenched with thick, black dust that came from the loft. I heard my son shouting.
‘It took me a few minutes to realise this was reality. I thought “was it a plane?”
‘I got out of the bedroom as quickly as possible. We checked in the middle room – we thought the dog had been killed.
‘But then we heard the dog bark downstairs. We realised the tree had come down.
‘Two neighbours came round banging on the door to see if we were OK. We told them we were all in one piece.
‘We called the police and the fire brigade and they said to call the council. I moved here in 1985 and the children used to play in the garden.
‘It will take six months to a year to repair. It has been devastating.
‘It would cost over £20,000 to repair the damage. It would cost at least £2,000 to replace our belongings.
‘I don’t have insurance. We have a lot of memories in that house.’
Delroy Beverley, director of construction, repairs and maintenance services at Nottingham City Homes, who manage the property on behalf of the council, said: ‘We are aware of the serious incident which occurred on Naomi Crescent early [on Saturday morning].
‘We made it a priority to dispatch staff immediately and have had a team on-site working with Mr Toon from 8am.
‘The falling tree has caused significant structural damage to the exterior roof and to internal ceilings on the upper floor of the property.
‘We have offered Mr Toon and his family alternative temporary accommodation over the weekend, however they have elected to stay with relatives for the time being.
‘We have ensured that utilities to the property are isolated, and have made it safe and secure.
‘We intend to start further investigations next week, and work with Mr Toon to ensure that him and his family have somewhere to stay while the works to the property are being carried out.’