Angry Leeds residents left in the dark by overgrown trees

Residents of Station View in front of the overgrown trees, from left, Allan Best, Tony Wilson and Margaret Winters.

Residents of Station View in front of the overgrown trees, from left, Allan Best, Tony Wilson and Margaret Winters.

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Fed-up residents living near a train station have hit out at Northern Rail for neglecting the upkeep of trees which now loom over their houses.

Neighbours on Station View, next to Cross Gates station, said they feel they are “living in a cave” as the overgrown trees block all light into the front of their homes.

They claim Northern Rail has only cut the trees once in 12 years and in winter they bang on their houses in the wind.

Margaret Winters, 57, said: “For two years, we’ve been begging Northern Rail to maintain and trim the trees.

“They’re now so high we have no natural light into our houses. It’s just very dark and so cold.”

Her neighbour, Sophie Cullen, 29, who lives with her husband Andy and their 15-month-old son Evan, said: “It’s ridiculous.

“I have to switch lamps and my lights on it is so dark – even in the summer with the curtains open, when we should be getting natural sunlight.

“There’s the additional concern of damage to our property.

“If I open my bedroom window I can reach out and touch branches, the trees are that close. We were very concerned about trees toppling in strong winds last winter. We’d like the trees substantially cut back to allow sufficient natural light to come through.

“At the moment our property is so deprived of light at the front of the house, it’s like living in a cave.”

Mrs Winters said her investigations over the years found Network Rail was responsible for the opposite side of the embankment - which she said is regularly maintained. She said: “It’s Northern Rail who are responsible for our side [of the embankment], which they totally neglect. They have no consideration for us.”

Joselyn Rankin, a spokeswoman for Northern Rail, told the YEP: “We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the residents of Station View, who have been frustrated by the trees growing out of the embankment at Cross Gates station.

“At this time of year, the trees are in full leaf and the RSPB does recommend that cutting hedges and trees are avoided between March and August as this is the main breeding season for nesting birds.

“We hope to have our contractors on-site on Wednesday, July 17, to assess what can be done immediately to better the situation for the residents and how we can solve the issue in the long term.”

She added: “Our main priority is that any work carried out on the vegetation is done so safely and in accordance with the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.”

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