'Petty' neighbourly dispute sees homeowner cut overhanging tree in half

·3-min read
The chopped tree at the centre of the neighbour dispute in Sheffield. (SWNS)
The chopped tree at the centre of the neighbour dispute in Sheffield. (SWNS)

A tree has become a "tourist attraction" after it was chopped in half as a result of a "petty" dispute between neighbours.

Bharat Mistry, 56, and his family were "gutted" when his next-door neighbours called in tree surgeons to cut half the branches of the 16ft tall fir tree, which had stood for 25 years.

The drastic action came after a year-long dispute between Mr Mistry and neighbours Graham and Irene Lee, both in their 70s, in the Sheffield suburb of Waterthorpe.

He claimed Mr and Mrs Lee had complained birds in the tree were making too much noise and making a mess of the drive of his bungalow in Brier Close, a quiet cul-de-sac where houses sell for between £160,000 and £220,000.

Watch: 'Petty' neighbourly dispute sees overhanging tree cut in half

Mr Mistry, a project manager, said: "It has been there for 25 years and we'd trimmed into a ball shape with agreement with the neighbour and he has been fine about it.

"But recently there have been birds in the tree which you would expect at this time of the year.

"He started off by putting black bin liners in the tree to stop the birds sitting there.

"Last weekend he said he was going to get a tree surgeon to cut it down and we asked him not to but they came on Friday and did it."

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Pictures of the tree have gone viral since being featured on Jeremy Vine's Channel 5 TV show, with the neighbours being both praised and criticised for cutting the tree.

A Twitter user wrote: “Pathetic childish behaviour! ..we should be saving trees not destroying them ..fool !”

Another person added: “It seems a bit petty, but they are entitled to do it, they have done nothing wrong. 

"I would be more concerned about the roots under my driveway to be honest.”

Mr Mistry and his family watched on in horror as a team of tree surgeons hacked away at their beloved fir tree.

He added: "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 on to his property.

"But you have to ask, why after 25 years would you do that?"

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Image of the tree before it was cut in half. (Google)
Image of the tree before it was cut in half. (Google)
This is how the tree looks now. (SWNS)
This is how the tree looks now. (SWNS)

Mr Mistry, who lives in the three-bedroom detached property with his wife and two daughters, said the neighbours had got on "perfectly fine" until lockdown.

He claimed Mr Lee first started to complain about the trees last March and that things came to a head last week. He said they haven’t spoken since the tree was cut down.

The tree has now become a site of curiosity for other people living in the area.

Mr Mistry said: "We've had a lot of people walking past to look at it, people you can just tell have come out of their way to walk their dog on a different route to have a look.

"People have stopped to take pictures, there has been a lot posted on social media.

"You think we'd probably do the same if it was another house, but it does feel a bit like an invasion of privacy."

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