Yorkshire grandmother 'puts heating on in July' due to trees blocking out daylight into her home

A grandmother-of-eight has to put her “lights and heating on in July” because the trees outside her Yorkshire home block out the daylight.

Julie White, 60, has pleaded with Leeds City Council to prune back the trees in the publicly-owned woodland next to her house, on Deanswood Close in Alwoodley. She says the trees have grown to such a height and thickness that they now shroud several properties on the cul-de-sac in darkness.

The council said it did not “routinely” carry out pruning to “mitigate shade”, but added that action would be taken over three trees in the woodland on safety grounds.

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Julie, who’s lived in her property for 11 years, said: “There’s no daylight. I’m just swamped by trees. I’m not saying getting rid of them. Just maybe thin them out, or prune them. Just give us some light, that’s all we’re asking for.

Julie Smith and Alwoodley councillor Neil BuckleyJulie Smith and Alwoodley councillor Neil Buckley
Julie Smith and Alwoodley councillor Neil Buckley

“It’s not just me, it’s the neighbours as well. They’ve no daylight either.”

Julie says the situation has a massive impact on her mental health, adding: “You just get fed up. I had to put my heating on in July because it was that cold. I have to have the lights on almost throughout the day. When I moved in, the woodland wasn’t as thick or dark as it is now.”

Alwoodley Conservative councillor Neil Buckley has been supporting Julie in her efforts to persuade the council to cut some of the trees back.

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He said: “The council’s tree officers do a great job. It’s not their fault, it’s the policy that’s at fault. It more or less says trees are more important than people. That’s the problem and it’s the policy needs changing.”

The trees in woodland off Deanswood Close. Picture from Google Maps (2022).The trees in woodland off Deanswood Close. Picture from Google Maps (2022).
The trees in woodland off Deanswood Close. Picture from Google Maps (2022).

A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said it took all issues relating to trees seriously.

They added: “Our priorities are trees that pose a risk to persons or property and we do not routinely carry out pruning or removal in order to mitigate shade. A member of council staff made a site visit to Deanswood Close at the start of this month following a request from a local resident.

“We have since agreed to carry out remedial work within the next six months on three trees where minor risk was identified. The work will see one of the trees being felled, while a branch will be removed from a second tree. Pruning will also take place.”

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The council said safety was the “sole deciding factor” in this work going ahead, adding that it could only chop trees to reduce shade “where strict parameters are met”.

It added: “In the case of Deanswood Close, we can confirm our site visit showed that these parameters were not met. This in turn means that at present only the work that has been agreed for risk mitigation purposes can take place. The council will, however, consider wider woodland management measures in this area should suitable funds become available.”