A DISPUTE over sycamore trees in a Malvern garden has led to accusations of heavy handedness being made against Malvern Hills District Council.

West Malvern composer Paul Farrer contacted the Malvern Hills Conservators after becoming concerned that the trees blocked sunlight and posed a hazard because of their size.

He sought advice on how to approach the trimming of the trees and whether there were any officials channels he must go through to employ a tree surgeon.

His e-mail was passed on to district council planning officers, who placed a tree preservation order on them.

Mr Farrer, of Westminster Bank, said: “I have only ever been concerned about the height of these trees and I am very worried about them.

“I have no idea if they pose a danger to me or to members of the public if the wind picks up and, in my view, MHDC’s actions have deliberately contributed to increasing the danger by telling me that if I trim them I go to prison.

M Paul Farrer believes these sycamore trees in his garden, which have been placed under a preservation order, could be dangerous.

“Do the heavy-handed and dangerous actions here not engender a culture of trying to keep the council out of our lives as much as is possible?

This is a gross invasion of privacy and one I intend to fight.”

MHDC’s development control manager Duncan Rudge said: “The council assigned tree preservation orders to protect the striking collective silhouette of the trees, which would undoubtedly be affected if they were reduced in height.

“A TPO does not mean that work cannot be carried out on the trees but it does request any application for works to be backed up by sound arboricultural advice; this is to ensure the health and safety of the trees is not put at risk.

“If Mr Farrer would like to put forward an application for works, this council would, of course, consider it.”