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Neath woman afraid of Gnoll trees "falling on home"

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 21, 2014

Jackie Benjamin  keeps an eye on the nearby trees.

Jackie Benjamin keeps an eye on the nearby trees.

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AN environmental volunteer who lives on the edge of a Neath beauty spot says she's concerned a 500-year-old tree is going to fall onto her home.

Jackie Benjamin, of Gnoll Drive, has claimed she was told by Neath Port Talbot Council around 18 months ago that a row of around five or six Beech trees behind her home, and on the edge of Gnoll Country Park, were ready to be felled.

But since then, she said, she has seen no sign of any workmen coming to bring the trees down — and has already seen two fall of their own accord.

Mrs Benjamin, who was a member of Gnoll Action Group and continues to litter pick around the area, said: "They started falling around 18 months to two years ago.

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"The first one touched my wall, but thankfully it didn't knock the wall down.

"Then a second one fell in January, or a portion of it did, in the heavy storms."

She also claimed she was told by the local authority 18 months ago that the one nearest her home — which could potentially land on her house if it fell — should come down.

"I'm worried now that these trees are going to fall on my house," said Mrs Benjamin.

The grandmother added that further into the park, on a path through the forest, there is another fallen Beech tree, which had been laying across the popular walkway for two weeks.

"We all have to keep climbing over it," she said.

She added that she'd repeatedly been in touch with the park manager and the authority's tree felling department, who, she claimed, told her they didn't have enough staff to carry out the works.

"I've been living here for 12 years and, until they said, I didn't have any concerns about the trees," she said.

"But since the tree fell on my wall, it has been a worry.

"They are beautiful trees, but they have come to the end of their time."

Mrs Benjamin got in touch with the Post after hearing about similar issues in Swansea.

Work was completed on the weekend to reopen Brynmill Lane, after it was closed for a week, when a tree fell down on a car.

Emily and Piers Tumeth and their two young daughters had a lucky escape, when the tree crashed down from Singleton Park on to a wall which in turn hit their Mazda car.

Swansea Council officers removed the tree and checked others in the area to make sure there was no danger of a repeat incident.

A spokesman for Neath Port Talbot Council was asked to comment on the issue, but was unable to send a response by time of press.

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